Friends of Metro Parks award “Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants” to six parks

Zinnias bloom in the pollinator garden at Scioto Audubon. This year, the park will receive a grant for honeybee hives. (John Watts)

Friends of Metro Parks will again award grants to parks from the Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants Fund. Last year, five were awarded inaugural Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants to complete unique and diverse projects to enrich the park experience for visitors. The projects included an insect hotel, a roving nature station, and even a tandem bike to use on the Greenway Trails.

These grants were created in honor of Robert “Tad” Jeffrey, who served as a Park Board Commissioner and worked to expand parks acreage. Metro Parks opened five new parks during Tad’s 16 years of dedication to the parks system. He helped to increase educational programming, expanded habitat protection, and was instrumental in the Franklin County Greenways Initiative. After his passing in 2016, the Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants took form to honor him and to continue his legacy in improving Metro Parks.

Thanks to the donations in honor of Mr. Jeffrey, Friends of Metro Parks were able to offer this grant opportunity again in 2017. After receiving 23 applications, the Friends’ grant committee was tasked with deciding which of the applications would end up being winners of the 2017 Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants. After much deliberation, the committee decided to fund six projects.

Scioto Audubon Metro Park was awarded funds for Honeybee Hives. These hives will be a wonderful addition to the park, especially since they have recently put in a pollinator garden. Bees are instrumental in the health of the environment, in addition to the tasty honey they make.

Blacklick Woods will be able to create an Edible Plants Garden to be installed near the nature center. The garden will include a variety of plants that have edible components or uses. This project will include a raised garden bed so that smaller plants will be able to get enough sunlight to thrive, as well as protecting them from grazing wildlife. We hope that many visitors will take part in the programs that will be created from having a wild edible plants garden.

Scioto Grove, the newest Metro Park, will purchase flint knapping supplies for future programs. For those who don’t know, flint knapping is the shaping of flint into primitive tools by chipping away at the edges—used in particular to create arrowheads. Flint knapping programs will educate visitors about the cultural history of the area, and can also be integrated into archery programs.

Greenway Trail rangers ride a tandem bike near the dog park at Scioto Audubon Metro Park. The bike was part of the Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grant award to our Greenways team in 2016.  (Christie Vargo)

With the popularity of Crossfit and the growing trend of opting outdoors to exercise instead of going to a traditional indoor gym, Sharon Woods Metro Park will be developing a multipurpose fitness station at the Multipurpose Trail. Equipment will include a tire flipping station, a battle rope station, and plyometric boxes. The station will have signage with directions on how to use the equipment, so that anyone can take park in this outdoor fitness station without necessarily having any prior training.

Guss the Groundhog, the Greenways mascot, put in an application for a popcorn machine to take along to events. Instead of awarding this grant to just the Greenways, Friends of Metro Parks are awarding the popcorn machine to all of the Metro Parks to use at activities and programs throughout the district. Look out for this fun addition at our Movies in the Park series this summer.

Finally, with the remaining funds, the Friends helped to fund one of the nights during the Summer Music Series at Slate Run Metro Park. We’d love to see you there, so we can all sit back and unwind during the summer with some wonderful music.

We hope to continue the Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grant project for many years to come, and would like to thank everyone who donated to the fund, as well as all of the parks who applied for the grant to improve their parks in wonderfully creative ways.

Friends of Metro Parks