Metro Parks naturalists often get to know the regular park visitors, and are fortunate to hear about some of their adventures! Meet Kathy and Sara, who recently explained to Scott Felker, naturalist at Three Creeks, why they love their Metro Parks…
We have enjoyed numerous hikes and adventures through the years at the Metro Parks. Our first hike was Birding and Breakfast at Chestnut Ridge in May 2003. My niece, Sara, was 5 years old. I remember it was cold, and I remember the person I talked to on the phone when we registered said she didn’t know if Sara would be too young to participate. Fast forward to 2016! Sara and I have been coming every year since. This is an annual tradition that we try not to miss. We even tell our family, sorry it is birding and breakfast and we have to go! One year we forgot to register and a Metro Parks staff member called us to make sure we were coming before the list was full. Sara will be graduating from high school in June and starting college, so I hope we can still find the time to do our annual hike together.
Through the years we have also enjoyed other hikes and adventures at different Metro Parks. Chestnut Ridge was our first, and I think our favorite park. We did an off-trail hike straight up the side of the hill at Chestnut ridge. I was huffing and puffing and had to stop multiple times, but Sara was running up that hill yelling “Come on Aunt Kathy!” We also went on a full moon hike, which was beautiful and totally different at night. At a Pickerington Ponds evening program we learned about frogs and the different sounds they make. At Slate Run we were taught about flowers and plants, and we can both still recognize goldenrod and garlic mustard to this day. Also at Slate Run we watched the farmers shear sheep, tap the maple trees and we even helped tag monarch butterflies. At Three Creeks we watched the mating dance of the woodcock, which was another life-learning experience for us both.
Sara has a great presence and eye for things while she is hiking and can see things so quickly! I remember Sara spotting a scarlet tananger at Chestnut Ridge. Someone in the group said they had never seen one before, and Sara pointed up and said there it is, and she was right! I will never forget that moment.
We will always treasure our times spent enjoying all the parks have to offer,
Kathy and Sara