Boating Safety/Beginner Canoeing Sunday, September 25 3pm Neff Reservoir SR 98 Canoeing is a great way to get out and enjoy nature. And, as always, when on the water, safety is first and foremost. This program will begin with a boating safety lesson, followed by a canoe float around the Neff Reservoir. Pre-registration is required by September 24 (419-683-9000). Funded through a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft.
Wild Wednesdays Wednesday, September 28 10am & 2pm Lowe-Volk Park Come to the Nature Center and enjoy an hour of nature exploration! Program topics will vary and may include a story, short hike, craft, or a visit from an animal. For pre-schoolers and their parents. Come dressed for the weather. Morning and afternoon programs will be similar, just choose the time that best fits your schedule.
Seed Collection Sunday, October 2 2pm Daughmer Savannah Grass seed will be collected from areas of Daughmer that have abundant prairie grasses and then spread to those zones that are dominated by less desirable plant species. Meet Warren Uxley at Daughmer.
Night Sky Program - International Observe the Moon Night! Saturday, October 8, 7pm Lowe-Volk Park, 2401 State Route 598 Join volunteers from the Crawford Park District as they celebrate the "International Observe the Moon Night". A variety of telescopes will be available for viewing. This program is part of an annual worldwide public event that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of our Moon.
New Faces at the CPD
This past summer has brought a couple staffing changes to the Crawford Park District. Sarah Messerschmidt has been hired as our new receptionist. Sarah has experience working in Marion County government and has the background to work effectively with the public. Our other staff addition is Mike Fruth. Mike has taken over as Unger Park caretaker. He is responsible for mowing and trail maintenance. Mike has volunteered for the CPD over the last few years during Nature Camp and for other maintenance tasks. If you see Sarah at the Nature Center, or pass Mike on the trails, stop and say “hi”. Welcome aboard, Sarah and Mike!
Purple Martin Success!!!
The purple martin colony at Unger Park had an exceptional breeding season this past summer. Seventeen pairs of martins took up residence in the tower complex that overlooks the park. A total of 82 eggs were produced and all successfully hatched. More importantly, only one chick died which means that the colony produced a total of 81 fledged birds. This is in stark contrast to the results from last year. Cool, wet weather during much of June had caused significant mortality among the newly hatched chicks. Improved conditions this year made for a much more successful year. Erected in the spring of 2012, the Purple Martin Complex has been a successful addition in our efforts to conserve and preserve biodiversity in Crawford County. The apartment complex sports 24 gourds suspended almost 20ft in the air and sits on the knoll behind Unger Barn. “Everything is ideal”, Park Naturalist Warren Uxley states. “Open prairie habitat providing plenty of insects, a pond and wetland with abundant hatches of aquatic insects; what more could a purple martin want? “ If you missed them this year, head to Unger Park next spring and summer to view our largest swallow, chattering as they fly overhead in search of insects. Purple Martins definitely have a home in Crawford County.
Snake Researchers use Lowe-Volk as Temporary Field Station
On June 15, thunderstorms rolled through north-central Ohio. Caught in the heavy downpours, researchers at Willard Marsh needed a dry place to process their data. Familiar with our park, Greg Lipps, researcher/program manager for the Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership at OSU, knew our Nature Center was available. Packing up the snakes they collected, his crew came to Lowe-Volk Nature Center. His team consisted of his 3 field assistants and the Field Herpetology Course of OSU, Stone Lab. The snakes collected on this particular day were of the endangered species variety….Massasauga Rattlesnakes! Massasaugas were fairly common in Ohio prior to settlement, inhabiting the large marshes that were interspersed in Ohio, earning them the nickname “Swamp Rattler”. Willard Marsh belongs to the former wetland complex known as the New Haven Marsh, which covered almost 13,000 acres in 4 counties (Huron, Richland, Seneca, & Crawford). Drained for agriculture, the marsh is a shadow of its former self. The Division of Wildlife purchased the Willard Marsh in 1942. At that time, the last known record of Massasauga’s was documented at Willard Marsh. In 2004, Greg Lipps was assigned to survey the marsh to see if there was a remnant rattlesnake population. He found one! Since then, follow-up surveys have been dismal, leading to the assumption that the population would soon be extirpated. That is, until June 15. A total of 10 snakes were observed, with 8 of those being captured. Seeking refuge from the storm, Greg led the caravan of students and researchers to Lowe-Volk to process the animals before being released back at the marsh. Measurements were taken, health status was assessed, a DNA sample taken, and the snake was implanted with a PIT Tag (similar to what we put into our domestic pets). “I hold out hope that there may be more pockets of remnant populations within the former area of the New Haven Marsh” Greg stated. Come to the Nature Center on October 27 to learn more about the Massasauga Rattlesnake, the Rattler of the Swamps.
Homeschool Classes to be Offered
New this year will be a program series for Homeschooled children! The classes will cover some of Ohio’s content standards in life, physical, earth and space sciences. Topics will range from habitats, solar systems, physics, wildflowers, outdoor recreation and many more. Classes will be held on the second Thursday of every month from September through April. Children ages 5-8 will meet from 9-10 am and children ages 9-12 will meet from 10:30-11:30 am. Classes will consist of an engaging lesson, hands on activities, and a hike in the woods, if it relates to the theme. These classes are a great addition to your homeschool lessons. Classes will be limited to 20 per session. Call the Park District to reserve your spot in each class.