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Threats to Bird Populations: Past, Present, and Future

Posted: 5/26/2016
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

The chipping sparrow and song sparrow and every other species of bird perched no fewer than 50 feet from you at this moment, are each part of a larger, worldwide population. To investigate the changing trends in those populations, ecologists draw from a multidisciplinary body of data. Consider th... View More >
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Cicadas - Significance of the Numbers

Posted: 5/19/2016
Posted By: Carly Martin

You may have heard by now that coming in late May of this year to Eastern Ohio is the emergence of the 17-year cicada. These noisy but harmless insects are a fascination to lovers of science, nature and math.   When we talk about cicadas we often find ourselves talking about numbers.&nb... View More >
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Legacy in Lake Erie

Posted: 5/12/2016
Posted By: Joe Higgins

Much has been made recently about toxic sediment in Lake Erie that is slowly creeping toward a water intake, and for good reason.  With recent water crisis in Toledo, Ohio – and even more recently in Flint, Michigan and Sebring, Ohio – we seem to be becoming more and more conscious as a soci... View More >
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It's All About Spring Wildflowers

Posted: 5/5/2016
Posted By: Pam A. Taylor

Rotten meat on the forest floor? Runways to guide bees to nectar? Who would have thought these two things go hand in hand with spring wildflowers? Spring wildflower season is one of my favorite times of the year! It is short lived, it changes daily and often times it goes unnoticed.  There i... View More >
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Creature Feature: Mute Swan

Posted: 4/28/2016
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

“I’ll open the hatch and you grab the swan,” Maggie states assertively. It’s 2006 and my wildlife handling skills are green. Holding incalculable years of animal restraining experience before me, I dogmatically brace myself for what my boss advises. We stand at the entrance to the wildlife rehabi... View More >
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17-year Periodical Cicada 101

Posted: 4/21/2016
Posted By: Carly Martin

You may have heard that this is the year for 17-year periodical cicadas to emerge in Greater Cleveland. They’ll be emerging in much of Eastern and Central Ohio and West Virginia as well. So what are these critters? And how are they any different from the cicadas we see and hear every year? What d... View More >
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West Creek… On the Trailing Edge of Urban Wildlife

Posted: 4/14/2016
Posted By: Gayle Albers

West Creek Reservation is one of the newer additions to Cleveland Metroparks Emerald Necklace, but it has long been long entrenched as a place of refuge and respite for wildlife and locals.      This 326-acre parcel was acquired in 2006 and the Watershed Stewardship Center opened J... View More >
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March Madness

Posted: 3/31/2016
Posted By: Sharon Hosko

"March Madness" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.   Yes, I am a big fan of college basketball’s annual tournament, but as a naturalist, March Madness is all about salamander and frog magic!    It’s about the rainy nights spent watching and protecting one... View More >
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Creature Feature: American Mink

Posted: 3/24/2016
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

The animal kingdom lays claim to the highly secretive, often ferocious, but lovable class of mammals. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as of 2008, the mammal class had 5,488 living species worldwide. First appearing 225 million years ago (mya) during the Late Trias... View More >
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Ready, Set... Cicadas!

Posted: 3/17/2016
Posted By: Carly Martin

Periodical Cicadas emerge in our region only every 17 years. This cool survival strategy uses the long period between emergences and number of years being a prime number to ensure that no predator can synchronize with their emergence. While opportunists like crows and raccoons will feast on them,... View More >
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Water Quality: The Erosion of Lead Pipes

Posted: 3/10/2016
Posted By: Mark Warman

Water quality has been in the news lately. Flint, Michigan. Sebring, Ohio… situations where water has eaten away at pipes to deliver both lead and water to homes and communities. So how does water become corrosive? To understand how water can “attack” pipes and corrode surfaces, three examples of... View More >
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Leeks Are Up!

Posted: 3/3/2016
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

I’ve never seen leeks up this early, but sure enough, while preparing for our upcoming Maple Sugaring program, I spotted some popping up at the end of February! Wild leeks- Allium tricoccum - also known as ramps or spring onions, are among the very first signs of spring in our forests. They usual... View More >
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Honeydew For Dinner

Posted: 2/24/2016
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

The honeydew to which I refer is not the edible melon, but aphid scat. To the untrained ear, this may sound like the hip name for an indie rock band. Allow me to clarify. Aphids are animals. They comprise a family of insects with nearly 4,500 species identified to science! Yes some are pests. Wel... View More >
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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No wait… It is a bird!

Posted: 2/11/2016
Posted By: Matthew Knittel

Watching raptors soar on thermals on a sunny day is one of my favorite things.   Their seemingly effortless gliding is mesmerizing and relaxing.   Watching them though, I have to wonder: Where do they come from?   I mean, I know where they come from: when a mommy hawk and a daddy h... View More >
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Light as a Feather

Posted: 2/4/2016
Posted By: Danielle Gray

Black and white flashes in the corner of my eye…. quick fast movements with a hint of friendly and inquisitive chatter…chickadees in the woods…. When I first came to Rocky River Nature Center as a naturalist one of my goals was to get outside and hike, hike, hike! One day as I headed out to take ... View More >
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Presents from the Planet

Posted: 1/27/2016
Posted By: Beth Whiteley

Each season our planet serves an important purpose to all of the species that call it home. In winter, the rotation and repositioning of our planet in its orbit shortens the days to provide us with the cold air and snow to cleanse and renew the earth. In the spring, it changes yet again, to begin... View More >
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Things Can Get Squirrely... Flying Squirrely!

Posted: 1/21/2016
Posted By: Carly Martin

Have you ever seen a flying squirrel? I’ve heard that they are the most common squirrel in Ohio, although our experiences with them rarely support that. Seeing them in the wild is rare. They are nocturnal. They are pretty much the exact same color as tree bark. And, they are fast! An old fleece h... View More >
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Burl Blog

Posted: 1/14/2016
Posted By: Debra Shankland

I really kind of like weird wood.   You know, trees with character:   twisted trunks, branches with 90 degree elbows, two trees of different species growing intertwined, completely hollow trunks sprouting live branches, and other freakish abnormalities.   Winter walks in a leafless... View More >
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Nature's Gift

Posted: 1/7/2016
Posted By: Bev Walborn

Have you finished “decking your halls” and “trimming your tree” now that the holidays are over?   Why not consider giving a gift to nature by recycling your live evergreen trees. An evergreen tree placed on its side in a corner of your yard will invite many animals to seek shelter. Carolina ... View More >
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A Big Year in Review

Posted: 12/24/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

I live and breathe naturalist. I search for and find the ultimate in nature. From hawks to meadowhawks, I will patiently find the findable. Why? Because I need to see it through my senses before I can share its steward-worthy story. When I’m not biologizing in the field, my unshakable duty is to ... View More >
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Why Do Some Trees Hang On To Their Dead Leaves?

Posted: 12/23/2015

Every winter, the deciduous forest becomes barren and skeletal – the trees bare and the forest floor covered in brown, dead leaves. A few evergreens scattered about are reminiscent of the lush green colors of summers, but the rest of the trees have shed their leaves for winter, with new buds read... View More >
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Fostering Nature Play Year-Round

Posted: 12/17/2015
Posted By: Carly Martin

I take play in nature very seriously. Research, experience, intuition and good sense tells us that creative play in natural settings is important for children. Cleveland Metroparks is a place where, whether it be on a trail or in a designated play area, children can balance on logs, hop over stre... View More >
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Bottle-less Drinks

Posted: 12/10/2015
Posted By: Matthew Knittel

The Watershed Stewardship Center houses many Cleveland Metroparks employees.   All of us here care passionately about our environment, and do our part in keeping it clean and healthy.   This includes using reusable water bottles instead of purchasing new plastic bottles when we’re thirs... View More >
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Autumn Meadowhawk

Posted: 11/26/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

Gracing the shores of Sanctuary Marsh flits the easily spooked, yet expectedly-present autumn meadowhawk ( Sympetrum vicimum ). An unseasonal animal, the insect darts gently from fallen leaf to rock to conveniently placed log. A nighttime low of 40 degrees is no match for the delicate baby-beast ... View More >
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The Bones of the Matter

Posted: 11/19/2015
Posted By: Carly Martin

So often the traces that animals leave behind are slight or quick to fade. Footprints are washed or melted away, chew marks are grown over and droppings are absorbed into the surroundings.  But bones, at least some bones, hang around a bit longer. It’s common to come across the skeleton of a... View More >
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Waystations & Wonder

Posted: 11/12/2015
Posted By: Joe Higgins

The Monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable and charismatic species of insects native to Cleveland Metroparks.  Their spry flight and beautiful coloration make them a sight to behold.  Unfortunately, we have seen a significant decrease in our Monarch butterfly populations in t... View More >
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Pumpkin Carving

Posted: 10/29/2015
Posted By: Sharon Hosko

When I was growing up, carving the family pumpkin for Halloween was simple:   two triangle eyes, an upside down triangle nose, and a smiling mouth with a few teeth here and there.  Ah, the good old days! ​       How things have changed.  Now there are pumpkin ca... View More >
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Fall Splendor

Posted: 10/22/2015
Posted By: Danielle Gray

Rainbows in nature are more common than we think. The first thing that comes to mind is a rainbow after a thunderstorm. But they can also be found in the iridescence of a clam shell, the shimmer in a tiny rainbow darter fish’s scales or the oily sheen atop the water created by decomposing plant m... View More >
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Piecing it Together…

Posted: 10/8/2015
Posted By: Gayle Albers

Nature nuts, artists, and science-types alike “take in” a piece of the planet through their keen senses and observations.    Some people then take very different approaches in how they document their observations from the field…perhaps through nature journaling, drawing, listing, photog... View More >
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Hummingbird Nest (chapter 2)

Posted: 9/24/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

On 8/7/2015, I posted a Notes from the Field entry titled “ Hummingbird Next (chapter 1) ”. The post featured an active ruby-throated hummingbird ( Archilochus colubris ) nest located near Rocky River Nature Center on West Channel Pond Loop Trail. The first week of August proved busy for the adul... View More >
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Confessions of a Fall Wildflower Watcher

Posted: 9/17/2015
Posted By: Carly Martin

Nature lovers adore spring wildflowers.  Most naturalists revel in them.  I like spring wildflowers; I pay attention to them.  Signs of spring are always welcome.  But late summer and fall wildflowers are what really get my heart pumping.  To step out into a field of yell... View More >
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Check these Checklists!

Posted: 9/10/2015
Posted By: Matthew Knittel

Have you ever wondered how many species of trees are within Cleveland Metroparks? Or perhaps you've wished that you could easily keep track of the different bird species you've seen within Cleveland Metroparks?  Well, now you can! Cleveland Metroparks has updated its eight plant and animal s... View More >
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10 Things You Didn't Know About Moths

Posted: 9/10/2015
Posted By: Mark Warman

 On any given late summer evening, hundreds of species of moths are on the wing in Cleveland Metroparks. Drawn to light, they can be observed near picnic shelters and nature centers lights. In meadows, they pollinate flowers, find mates and are devoured by predators like bats. Each moth has ... View More >
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Don't Blame Goldenrod

Posted: 9/3/2015
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

Fall allergies got you sneezing and wheezing lately? Don’t blame beautiful goldenrod! Goldenrod plants may look like an easy target for allergy sufferers’ ire, but because they rely on animal pollinators to spread and reproduce, their pollen mainly stays put in the flower, where it awaits for a v... View More >
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Hummingbird Nest (chapter 1)

Posted: 8/27/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

Along West Channel Pond Loop Trail, 1/10 of a mile north of Rocky River Nature Center is an active ruby-throated hummingbird ( Archilochus colubris ) nest! The lichen-lined nest is well camouflaged in a maple tree beside the east wing of the loop trail, well over 20 feet from the forest floor. &n... View More >
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Blog About a Log

Posted: 8/20/2015
Posted By: Carly Martin

Sanctuary Marsh next to North Chagrin Nature Center is a favorite place for many people to walk and enjoy viewing birds, beavers, muskrats, turtles and dragonflies.   The marsh is an excellent habitat for many wetland creatures who call it home.   And a beautiful wooden boardwalk across... View More >
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7 ways to enjoy your hike a little more

Posted: 8/13/2015

A hike out in nature can inspire us to take in the beauty of the moment. Our everyday lives can be stressful, but I find nature to be calming and rejuvenating. Whether you’re interested in relieving stress, benefiting from some exercise, filling time, or learning something new; a hike out in the ... View More >
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10 Things You Didn't Know About Milkweed & Monarchs

Posted: 8/6/2015
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

Monarch butterflies have been in the news lately, and now more people than ever are becoming aware of just how important one plant can be. Milkweed- the only food source for monarch caterpillars- is quickly catching on as a desirable ornamental garden plant (who wouldn't want monarchs in their ya... View More >
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Parks, Nature, and Stress Reduction

Posted: 7/29/2015

A walk in nature has long been considered to be a stress-reliever – a way to take your mind off the pressures of daily life and appreciate the ingenuous beauty of the natural world. But what is this beauty? How do you appreciate it? How can it reduce stress and enrich your life? How do you make t... View More >
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Eastern Cottontail: The Prey

Posted: 7/23/2015

The eastern cottontail ( Sylvilagus floridanus ) is a species that people often see in their yards, and the more unfortunate find in their gardens. These garden eaters are a true native species to Ohio, meaning they were here before European settlers came to America! The eastern cottontail became... View More >
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That's a Tough Bug to Swallow!

Posted: 7/16/2015
Posted By: Carly Martin

Have you considered how a frog’s tongue, which functions very well to extend out and catch insects, might be involved or not in swallowing that just caught insect?  It’s an interesting thing to consider.  Many of us have watched a toad hunting for insects or worms in our yards and garde... View More >
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Monsters of the Shallow

Posted: 7/9/2015
Posted By: Matthew Knittel

Quietly lurking beneath the surface… …hiding under every rock… …legs scurrying… …bodies squirming… …tiny terrors… …monsters of the shallow… … Macroinvertebrates ! They can be small, but all are visible to the naked eye (macro-), and all – whether insects or non-insects – are spineless (invertebra... View More >
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For Sake of the Forest

Posted: 7/2/2015

Once upon a time, the land that would become Ohio was a wild place. Two-hundred and sixty-five years ago, nearly 100% of “Ohio” land was covered in dense, unclaimed forest. Your nearest shopping center was not even a glimmer in someone’s mind. Elk, bobcat, black bear, gray wolf, and even American... View More >
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Horns vs. Antlers

Posted: 6/25/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

The same traits that help an onlooker identify a wild creature can also help the animal send nonverbal messages such as territoriality or reproductive maturity. The intended recipient of such communication is usually another creature of the wild realm, but you too have a chance to decode the not-... View More >
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My challenge to you, is to complete the Emerald Necklace

Posted: 6/16/2015
Posted By: Matthew Knittel

Let’s face it: Cleveland has had some rough years.   From the weakening of the steel industry to having a decades long championship drought, we’ve been the punching bag for comedians, media, and most of the country.   Well, that’s changing. Cleveland has many great attractions and ameni... View More >
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Ticks Ahoy!

Posted: 6/4/2015
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

One animal no one wants to encounter on a hike is a tick. These small arachnids crawl onto passing animals like birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. After embedding sucking mouthparts into their host, ticks feed on blood, ballooning to several times their original size. The most common tick y... View More >
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Coyote Q&A

Posted: 5/28/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

The coyote ( Canis latrans ), highly adaptable, intelligent and often misunderstood. Along with phone calls about deer fawn, fledgling songbirds, and mistakenly-orphaned small mammals, lately the dialogue about coyote encounters has increased. Here are the facts.  How do I know if I’ve spott... View More >
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One Year Countdown

Posted: 5/18/2015
Posted By: Carly Martin

I’m so excited!   We have one year; mark your calendars!   Mid – late May of 2016: Cicada Invasion! Think back to the summer of 1999 and again, back to 1982.    Early summer of those years in much of Ohio was defined by the huge buzzing clumsy insects that emerged from their 1... View More >
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Professional Enrichment

Posted: 5/14/2015
Posted By: Joe Higgins

Working with fellow educators is always very rewarding, s cience teachers tend to be very inquisitive and passionate about their subject!   I recently had the opportunity to act as an instructor at an aquatic science teacher workshop in conjunction with professors from Case Western Reserve U... View More >
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Doctrine of Signatures

Posted: 5/7/2015
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

Did you ever notice that spring wildflowers often have funny names? What’s with “wort” being tagged on the end of these plants? Why the references to human anatomy?  To me, one of the best parts of greeting these early bloomers is getting to know the often-fascinating history behind the name... View More >
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Snakes: The Unappreciated

Posted: 4/30/2015
Posted By: Kelly McGinnis

Some people love them, some hate them, and some respect them, but snakes tend to trigger an immediate response in most people.   The sight of these long, slender, legless reptiles can paralyze some people with fear.   Although they have a negative reputation, they are misunderstood by m... View More >
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Tips for Teachers: Fossils

Posted: 4/23/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

Teaching young audiences about the nature of fossils is a tricky process. For example, you’re planning a field trip that will navigate a valley with exposed Ohio shale formation and would like to spice up your lesson with the topic of fossils. Rocky River Nature Center overlooks 100 feet of the m... View More >
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Nature's Annual Scavenger Hunt

Posted: 4/16/2015
Posted By: Selby Majewski

The first triumphant trill of a Red Winged Blackbird.   The rumor of skunk cabbage at Jackson Field.   The sudden disappearance of ice on Sunset Pond.   This year, we were all searching for signs that winter was finally ending.   Skunk Cabbage Blossom Although it seemed like w... View More >
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Bird Dialects

Posted: 4/9/2015
Posted By: Matthew Knittel

Written by: Jill Collins, Naturalist  My grandmother, a native of Maiden,   North   Carolina, told me once that her mother could tell which small, nearby town a stranger was from based on the way they spoke. While someone today may not be able to hear a distinction between one town... View More >
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Fresh This Month

Posted: 4/2/2015
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

It's amazing how quickly spring starts. One week, it's 20 degrees and snow, and the next, green growth is popping up out of the ground. As a homesteader, I try to prepare as much as possible for this sudden burst of energy and life. Often the transition is all too soon, and I am behind in pruning... View More >
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A Dry Swim

Posted: 3/26/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

Over the course of a year, a bird will encounter unpredictable conditions. At times unfavorable weather, such extreme temperatures or high winds, can ground the otherwise airborne animal. Certain birds of a feather prefer water, including waterfowl that visit and revisit the Rocky River year afte... View More >
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The Power of Water

Posted: 3/11/2015
Posted By: Gayle Albers

Nature’s water is the magnanimous ruler of the earth.  It is a universal healer: satiating the body after an arduous hike, greening dormant seedlings with its spring rains, and cleansing the skin of the earth as creeks flow to meet their neighboring rivers, lakes, and seas.   Water... View More >
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White-winged Crossbill!

Posted: 3/4/2015
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

Well, I had this nice blog all lined up talking about sustainable yard and garden design… but I guess it will have to wait until next month because WE HAVE A WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL AT GARFIELD PARK CENTER!!! ​ It was hard to get a good photo of our shy visitor. Here he is in profile, munching sun... View More >
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Sinzibukwud

Posted: 2/26/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

The mechanics of maple sugaring call for creating a tap hole in a sugar maple ( Acer saccharum ), inserting a draining port (e.g., spile), collecting the 2-4% sugar-concentrated sap drips, and evaporating 39 gallons of water for every 40 gallons of collected sap. Various cultures have been perfec... View More >
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How to Catch a Vulture

Posted: 2/19/2015
Posted By: Carly Martin

This is how you catch a vulture. When I was growing up, I roamed the neighborhoods of Painesville, Ohio in search of nature connecting activities.   I did find some; kids like me was always do.   But I longed for a more rural living with wilder experiences.   We would drive out to ... View More >
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WONDERS OF WETLANDS

Posted: 2/18/2015
Posted By: Debra Shankland

The environmental values of wetlands are well-documented.   They purify and store stormwater, prevent flood damage, and function as nurseries for shellfish and sport fish.   These qualities are concrete, tangible and translate into cold, hard cash.   But wetlands have other values ... View More >
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What's Cookin' at Garfield Park?

Posted: 2/4/2015
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

Garfield Park Reservation’s visitor center is transitioning into an Urban Agriculture Center that promotes homegrown foods and backyard sustainability skills. We have the opportunity to try all sorts of new public programs, and we’re having a lot of fun along the way.   Today, my co-workers ... View More >
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The Thrill of a Lifetime

Posted: 1/29/2015
Posted By: Sharon Hosko

Take a moment to think back on your childhood when the only things that really mattered were playing outside all day and having fun. As adults, many of us lose this perspective on life. One of my favorite authors, Rachel Carson, wrote: “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he n... View More >
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Big Years & Big Birds

Posted: 1/22/2015
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

For the bird-seeking wildlife enthusiast, New Year’s Day refreshes the annual list of species recorded through the lens of a spotting scope, binoculars, camera, or eye. For some, the list may only be a fleeting memory of a regal raptor seen soaring above Lake Erie’s shoreline. For others, the lis... View More >
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Winter is Here

Posted: 1/15/2015
Posted By: Matthew Knittel

Winter is Coming Here While driving in the snow and shoveling the driveway may not be everyone’s favorite activities, watching the snow fall from the comfort of a cushy chair, or while out on a hike in the woods can be one of the greatest experiences. But what is a snowflake?   Snowflakes fo... View More >
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Seed Fever

Posted: 1/1/2015
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

It may be freezing and gray outside, but in my head, next spring’s garden is in full bloom. It’s that time of year again: the seed catalogs are arriving in the mail. A variety of shapes and sizes from all over the country stuff my postbox, each catalog boasts a dizzying, color-saturated cornucopi... View More >
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Fossil Snowflakes?

Posted: 12/31/2014
Posted By: Danielle Garbo

The ? is for the skeptics. Dinosaur footprints are accepted as fossils and I suspect that other than slight differences in size and age, snowflake imprints are fossils as well. The Fiona Macleold quote beautifully describes how I have come to love the winter woods:  “Go to the winter woods: ... View More >
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Blonding

Posted: 12/24/2014
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

A hike is more than a walk in the woods. It's a chance to exercise sure, but it's also a chance to work out your wild intellect. When I lead a hike, I usually do a bit of reconnaissance in the months preceding, and again days before the hike. This ritual is to familiarize myself with the trail an... View More >
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Looking for the Sparkle in Winter

Posted: 12/11/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

It’s winter again and here we are in Cleveland, Ohio.   There are times when the brilliance we see in warmer seasons seems dampened by thick gray clouds, a sun that’s low on the horizon, trees that are skeletons of muted tones and chilling winds that seem to cut you to bits.   It’s easy... View More >
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Five Ways to Eat Local in Winter

Posted: 12/3/2014
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

More and more folks are catching on to the fact that eating local foods is a great way to support healthy bodies, communities, and environments. The exact distance it takes to make “local food” local varies depending on who you’re talking to. If you find it helpful, think of local food as that wh... View More >
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Winterizing

Posted: 11/26/2014
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

The creatures among us in the natural world have unique ways of managing the arrival of winter, and I don’t mean bunking down with you by a warm crackling fire. In the case of wildlife, some have multiple techniques while others simply have one. Chances are that any avian, reptilian, amphibian or... View More >
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Meet the Dawn Redwood

Posted: 11/13/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

When life seems simple, when trees with needles are evergreen and trees with broad leaves are deciduous and drop their leaves, I am here to remind you that things are rarely simple.   Meet: dawn redwood or Metasequoia.   This tree, which you can find in several places in Cleveland Metro... View More >
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Adventures in Cheesemaking

Posted: 11/5/2014
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

My interests lie in creating as much of my own resources as possible. One of my favorite things to experiment with making is cheese. I see it as an art, and love nothing more than to try the plethora of varieties out there. On our yearly pilgrimage to Vermont, my husband always rolls his eyes at ... View More >
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Shoestring Root Rot

Posted: 10/23/2014
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

What is that? A simple question leads Naturalists down a road of curiosity, questions, and with a bit of skilled practice, answers. When an organism is identified it opens the door, takes on meaning, and hopefully allows a student to dig deeper. While leading a school group along West Channel Pon... View More >
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An Unexpected Visitor

Posted: 10/16/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

On September 12, 2014, North Chagrin Naturalist, Jeff Riebe discovered a turtle that just didn’t quite fit what he would expect to find in the nature center pond.   Trapped in the rocky corner, the turtle had been pushed by some heavy rains into the overflow of Sunset Pond, adjacent to North... View More >
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Planting Garlic

Posted: 10/2/2014
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

October is garlic-planting time in Ohio. You may be surprised at just how easy it is to grow your own year’s supply of organic garlic. It’s virtually pest free, not at all fussy, and best of all- the deer don’t eat it! All garlic asks for is some fertile, well-drained soil that gets good sun. To ... View More >
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Thinking About Trash

Posted: 9/25/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

I was doing some thinking this week about trash.   What grade would I give myself regarding how I discard material that might go into a landfill?   What grade would you give yourself?   Are you one of those people who carefully look at everything discardable and decide if it is saf... View More >
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Tree Roots

Posted: 9/25/2014
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

Stream walking the Rocky River last week led me down a rabbit hole. For reasons unexplained, I’m fascinated by natural phenomena that grace your everyday periphery. As a result, I scramble for more info until my brain feels denatured. This ambitious routine builds a jack-of-all-trades mental unde... View More >
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Fine Lines

Posted: 9/4/2014
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

As a professed nature lover, I sometimes find myself in the odd position of rooting against wildlife. I’ve decided to try and grow as much of my own food as possible on my two-acre parcel, and this has placed me at times in direct odds against the wild things that I love.   Last week, a red-... View More >
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Giant Hogweed?

Posted: 8/28/2014
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

To the budding field biologist-- Lately, giant hogweed ( Heracleum mantegazzianum ) inquiries are frequent. Visitors have asked our Natural Resources staff and Outdoor Experiences staff if the plant species is present in northeast Ohio. Specifically, folks are concerned about the skin irritation ... View More >
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Northern Brown Snakes are Adorable

Posted: 8/21/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

Northern brown snakes are adorable. Some of you are saying, “no way.” But they are. It’s their tininess mostly. On average, when I find a northern brown snake, also known as a DeKay’s snake, they are about the size of a pencil. I’ve found worms that are larger.  Northern brown snakes ar... View More >
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Got Him?

Posted: 7/31/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

As I wandered along my favorite stretch of the Rocky River, I heard the whining of wings near my ear and felt a little pinch on my arm. At this point, most would have slapped their arm and said “got him,” but not me. I curiously watched the insect as her abdomen became larger and redder. Just whe... View More >
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Gulp!

Posted: 7/24/2014
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

In my last blog post, Dragons Still Fly , I dove into the natural history of dragonflies. These speedy creatures truly astonish me. A dragonfly willingly hunts and captures prey larger than its own body and at times, heavier. It performs such aerial feats on the wing and with an exceedingly high ... View More >
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A Celebration of Art in Nature & Nature in Art

Posted: 7/17/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

You may or may not know that Cleveland Metroparks Look About Lodge has invited people to work with us for a few years now to have an entry into the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Parade the Circle parade that takes place in June each year. In the past we’ve artistically represented a meadow in bloom a... View More >
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Biology Camp for Teens

Posted: 7/15/2014
Posted By: Tim Krynak

"Biology Camp for Teens"  was designed to introduce students to the scientific process through observation, experimentation and biological survey techniques used within Cleveland Metroparks.   Located at mostly at the Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek and one day... View More >
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Walk a Mile in No Shoes

Posted: 7/4/2014
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

I had a revelation while walking in the woods the other day: our shoes spoil us.   My husband has been entreating me to hike barefoot for years. “C’mon,” he says, “it feels great.”   No, no, I reply. It’s too hot, too cold, too muddy. The rocks hurt. What if I cut my foot?   My hus... View More >
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Dragons Still Fly

Posted: 6/26/2014
Posted By: Martin Calabrese

The mythological dragon and the dragonfly navigating Cleveland Metroparks wetlands are both predators, but the similarity stops there. Although the dragonfly is real and the fire-breathing lizard is not, more people can describe the appearance of a dragon for you. Hmm… My gut tells me this trend ... View More >
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Adventures in Beekeeping: Part 3

Posted: 6/17/2014
Posted By: LaDonna Sifford

I have to say that after looking down and realizing that I was covered in bees (during my first hive inspection…ever) it became difficult to focus on completing the task. However, a few deep breathes later I also became aware that the bees were NOT stinging me! This is when I initially experience... View More >
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Hold Your Stories Till the End...?

Posted: 5/15/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

I hope you don’t mind that many of my “Notes from the Field” lean towards people and experiences in the field rather than natural happenings….  Or, are those things so different?  I, and most nature educators, spend a great deal of time with school groups.  Children feel driven to ... View More >
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Bugs Are Not Bad

Posted: 5/7/2014
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

"Bugs," a term loosely applied to insects, spiders, millipedes, and all other creepy crawlies, are everywhere. They run the planet, in fact the vastly outnumber and outweigh us. In the U.S., there are about 400 pounds of insects per acre, compared to about 14 pounds of human flesh per acre. Yes, ... View More >
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The Mighty Oak

Posted: 4/24/2014
Posted By: Tim Krynak

Each spring I anticipate bird migration.  Every morning I step out my backdoor and listen for the morning chorus to see who may have arrived overnight.  I pay close attention to the pin oaks as they are now in full bloom and this is where the birds are often found.    Why oaks... View More >
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Ewww!

Posted: 4/17/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

When I was growing up there was this cluttered, eccentric old pet store that my friends and I would go into and browse the odd collections of animals.  There was a screaming myna bird, which happily chatted with anyone who entered. There was a large, wire cage with an almost hairless, hunche... View More >
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Adventures in Beekeeping Pt. 2

Posted: 4/10/2014
Posted By: LaDonna Sifford

So as a brand new beekeeper, with an open hive, 3000 bees and a smoker that was not producing any smoke; I felt compelled to continue. In retrospect, I realize that this was probably not the best choice. The books that I accumulated stated that smooth gentle motions were extremely important to th... View More >
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Coyotes: Your Friendly Neighborhood Predator

Posted: 4/2/2014
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

The loveliness of Spring and all its fertile charms of gold-like green, flowers, and babies is by far most folks’ favorite time of year. Renewal and life are all around us, reminding us of why we live here after all. But, some of the new babes arriving to the world this month may be creating mala... View More >
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The American Toad

Posted: 3/27/2014
Posted By: Tim Krynak

This plump amphibian is probably the most encountered amphibians of suburban backyards.  I always look forward to seeing them around my house and yard.  I can even distinguish individuals by their unique warty pattern.  This pattern not only provides camouflage, but their parotid g... View More >
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Parents: Time to Start Planning for Summer!

Posted: 3/20/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

Yikes! I can’t believe it’s time to start planning summer.  I plan some of the summer camps at Look About Lodge and even write some of the little paragraphs that help you choose which experience is best for your child.  And yet, I’m surprised and even shocked that it’s the time in the y... View More >
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Matters of Mating

Posted: 3/18/2014
Posted By: Tim Krynak

There's nothing quite like listening to the sound of chorusing frogs or watching salamanders wiggle their way across the road. Male spring peepers and wood frogs make their presence known as they call for a mate and the sound can be deafening. Unlike spotted and Jefferson salamanders, which ... View More >
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Adventures in Bee Keeping: Part 1

Posted: 3/13/2014
Posted By: LaDonna Sifford

Hello and THANK YOU for checking out my first post on the Notes from the Field blog. I would like to introduce myself by introducing one of the most interesting aspects of my job as a Cleveland Metroparks naturalist; keeping honeybees. If you are considering a hive of your own, then now is the ti... View More >
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Buzzard Trivia

Posted: 3/6/2014
Posted By: Tim Krynak

Winter is beginning to wane here in Northeast Ohio and, as with every year, our attention turns to the sky as Buzzard Day brings in the promise of spring on the wings of the Hinckley Buzzards! With March 15 th right around the corner, the exact date of the yearly arrival of Turkey Vultures coming... View More >
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A Delicate Balance

Posted: 3/6/2014
Posted By: Tim Krynak

  I often hear how lucky we are to have this wonderful park system and I wholeheartedly agree.  There are opportunities for everyone to get out and enjoy the natural world around them.  As a park district, it can be challenging to find the balance between conserving the land, prote... View More >
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Amphibian Migration

Posted: 2/25/2014
Posted By: Tim Krynak

Each day spring is a little closer.  This is the time of the year for anticipation of the annual amphibian migration to local vernal pools and wetlands.  Predictable, and yet unpredictable, this migration will occur every year without fail.  The unpredictable part is the weather. R... View More >
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Sleeping on the Floor of the Lodge

Posted: 2/20/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

It has been an annual tradition at Look About Lodge for at least 10 years now to have a family overnight on the Sunday night before Martin Luther King Day.  This year was no different.   Well, there are a few differences:  Families can now register on-line for Cleveland Metroparks ... View More >
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Liquid Gold in Your Backyard

Posted: 1/29/2014
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

  My dad is fond of saying that February feels like the longest month of the year, even though it is the shortest in length. I get that. It’s cold, it’s been cold, and there’s no foreseeable end in sight. The charm of fresh snow has long faded away, and the world outside seems like a vast wa... View More >
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Amphibians are Amazing

Posted: 1/23/2014
Posted By: Tim Krynak

Currently worldwide it is estimated that there are over 7,000 species of amphibians belonging to three distinct groups; Frogs (includes toads), Salamanders, and Caecilians (legless amphibians not found in the US).  They come in all sizes from t he world's smallest known vertebrate called the... View More >
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Holes in the Snow

Posted: 1/21/2014
Posted By: Carly Martin

I love tracking in the winter.  Tracks tell stories.  They tell stories of life and death, journeys and nightly rounds.  The precise linear tracks of a fox tell such a different story than the wandering, swirling tracks of a dog, while their toes are so similar.  Two paths of ... View More >
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It's Only Natural: A New Year's Wish

Posted: 1/1/2014
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

Oh, man. It’s that time again. Time for all the commercials about whipping your body into shape. To make promises to quit smoking, spend more time with the kids, or finally clean out the spare closet. Very rarely do we pause in the daily routine of our lives to contemplate who we are and who we w... View More >
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Amphibian Task Force

Posted: 12/26/2013
Posted By: Tim Krynak

Worldwide there are more than 6,300 known species of amphibians.  Today 32% are threatened, 43% are declining, and at least 168 species are believed to have gone extinct. This class of animals is in critical danger and there are several factors causing the decline including: habitat destruct... View More >
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Come Outside and Play

Posted: 12/24/2013
Posted By: Carly Martin

Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait for it to snow so you could head out for a snowball fight or to make a snowman or at least have a good reason to drink some hot cocoa?  Maybe you still look forward to snow days.  But, take a look around at the yards in any given neighb... View More >
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The Great Equalizer

Posted: 12/4/2013
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

I’m sheltering hundreds of foreign refugees in my home right now. They’re wanted across the country for the blaze of damage they leave in their wake. Don’t blame me- I don’t want them around. The fact is they’ve taken my house and my family hostage for the time being- though they promise to be go... View More >
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Life Under a Log

Posted: 11/27/2013
Posted By: Tim Krynak

I have always been a log flipper.  Every time you flip a log you never know what treasures you may find. First and most important is that there is a whole ecosystem under a log and when it is turned over it does disrupt the system. When flipping logs we need to be as gentle as possible and r... View More >
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Owls are Ambassadors

Posted: 11/21/2013
Posted By: Jen Brumfield

EVERY experience in nature is fresh and new, full of intrigue, wonder and discovery. Even the most seasoned enthusiasts will tell you -- "I learn something new EVERY day." The incredible diversity of species and habitats we have in the immediate Cleveland region is striking. Cuyahoga County is th... View More >
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Rut Fun!

Posted: 11/19/2013
Posted By: Carly Martin

There’s a lot of bravado going on with our wildlife this time of year, at least with the antlered variety.   Welcome to rutting season, the time of year when deer, especially males, are exhibiting mating behaviors. Rut starts with male deer having fully grown their annual set of antlers... View More >
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Gobblers, Snoods, and Beards- Oh My!

Posted: 10/30/2013
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

Chances are the basted beauty of roasted turkey will soon be gracing a table near you. Symbolic of family traditions, cheer, and celebration, this is the bird of American holiday meals. After all, over 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten in the U.S. on Thanksgiving! Alas, our familiarity with... View More >
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White Nose Syndrome

Posted: 10/24/2013
Posted By: Tim Krynak

On October 1, 2013 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed listing the northern long-eared Bat ( Myotis septentrionalis ) as a federally endangered species.  Currently it is in a 60 day review period, but most likely this species will be officially listed after this peri... View More >
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Precious Places

Posted: 10/10/2013
Posted By: Carly Martin

If you’ve been following Cleveland Metroparks blogs, you know that we have one dedicated to history (Roots Revealed) and this one is dedicated to natural history, or nature.  Today I’m going to skate the line between the two.  I work at Look About Lodge.  Most people who walk into ... View More >
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All About Galls

Posted: 10/2/2013
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

They’re all around you, though you may not have noticed: the papery brown balls kicked up by your feet on a forest trail, the odd-looking goldenrod that never did flower, but instead sports an unruly mop of spiky, pineapple-like leaves at its top, the almost-cute, fuzzy lumps on the surfaces of o... View More >
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Wood Ducks of North Chagrin

Posted: 9/26/2013
Posted By: Tim Krynak

I think wood ducks are one of the most beautiful ducks in the world and Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation is considered one of the best locations in the world to view and photograph this species.  Typically shy, wood ducks at North Chagrin have become accustomed to human activit... View More >
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Finding Balance

Posted: 9/17/2013
Posted By: Carly Martin

It’s between seasons for Cleveland Metroparks naturalists.  The schools out, camp time, feet in the streams, sun on your face, soak it all in before it’s over, summertime rush, has waned to a whisper.  We are just starting spiced cider, cool breeze, find your jeans, watch for peak leaf ... View More >
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Autumn Spiders

Posted: 9/12/2013
Posted By: Tim Krynak

Late summer / early fall is one of the best times of the year to look for spiders.  They have fed and grown all summer long and are now at full size and appear to be everywhere.  For some, just the word spider makes them nervous, and I bet these small animals are in the top three feared... View More >
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Migration is Amazing

Posted: 8/22/2013
Posted By: Tim Krynak

Migration is amazing!  Birds, bats and some insects annually undertake incredible journeys with just the power of wind and their wings.  These amazing animals follow a predictable timeline on ancient migratory routes to wintering to grounds from Ohio to the tip of South America.  I... View More >
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My Favorite

Posted: 8/20/2013
Posted By: Carly Martin

What’s your favorite animal?  Seems like an innocent question.  It binds me in knots faster than a trip to the dentist office.  Favorite?  You could add 100 qualifiers to that question and I’d give you 100 different answers, each with equal reverence and fondness.  What w... View More >
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The Butterfly Effect

Posted: 8/14/2013
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

Where are all the monarchs ? It’s been the top question asked around the nature center this season. Those miracles in orange and black that startle our logical minds with their proven ability to migrate fully across a continent into the same safe haven in the forests of Mexico year after year are... View More >
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American Avocet at Edgewater!

Posted: 8/1/2013
Posted By: Jen Brumfield

One of the Nation's most stunning species of shorebirds, the American Avocet, is a western and east coast species, with only small numbers of migrants showing up in the Great Lakes region. Avocets are rare in Northeast Ohio during migration, but vigilant observers can sometimes find them on beach... View More >
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Cleveland's Brown Pelican

Posted: 7/30/2013
Posted By: Jen Brumfield

Cleveland has been hosting a mega-rare East Coast visitor for 39 days, now - an immature brown pelican. There are only two previous records of this species for Cuyahoga County - a one-day wonder on April 29th, 1990, and another one-day wonder, September 7, 2012 - both from Huntington Reserva... View More >
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Naturalist's Almanac

Posted: 7/29/2013
Posted By: Jen Brumfield

A great month-to-month short guide to seasonal sightings is Cleveland Metroparks Naturalist's Almanac. (See link below). Bookmark it, and follow the natural occurrences of each month in Cleveland Metroparks. Learn what to look for in the outdoors and when, including birds, wildflowers, fall color... View More >
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Finding Barred Owls

Posted: 7/25/2013
Posted By: Tim Krynak

I was in North Chagrin Reservation this past week when I heard the “scream” of a fledgling Barred Owl ( Strix varia ).  I am sure this was an attempt to try and encourage a nearby adult to hurry up with the next meal delivery.  June – July are great months to hear this call even during ... View More >
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Leave Those Babies Alone!

Posted: 6/26/2013
Posted By: Bethany Majeski

It happens to every naturalist at one time or another. Too often, really. You’re working at the nature center when you see a distraught-looking visitor walking up to the building carrying a cardboard box, Rubbermaid tote, or cat carrier. Uh-oh - there’s something alive in there. Sometimes, the se... View More >
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Welcome to Cleveland Metroparks Nature Blog!

Posted: 6/25/2013
Posted By: Jen Brumfield

Welcome to Cleveland Metroparks nature blog, "Notes from the Field." For 96 years Cleveland Metroparks has been providing conservation, education and recreation opportunities to the public. Notes from the Field aims to provide you with weekly fascinating, exciting experiences and finds, and ... View More >
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Welcome to the Warm Heart of Winter

Posted: 12/27/2012

February is a month of change in Cleveland Metroparks. For the past few years now, this month has relaxed its traditional grip on winter and brought us middling snows and slush. Your grandparents knew a different February than you, when snow fell and stayed for two months straight, and temperatur... View More >
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The Promise of Spring

Posted: 12/27/2012

The month of January was named, it is told, for Janus, the Roman god with two faces. One face looked backward to what was in the past, and the other looked forward into the future, for what will be. In January, the future is ripe with promise. I've always thought of January as the great leveler. ... View More >
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October - Nature's Last Hurrah

Posted: 12/27/2012

October is nature's last hurrah, I think. By month's end uncountable tons of leaves blanket the forest floors of Cleveland Metroparks, only to return as food for their maker next year and nourishment for the splendor of spring wildflowers. November is a gray and gritty month, filled with bare lim... View More >
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An Essay on Garlic Mustard

Posted: 12/27/2012

From time to time, I find writing so insightful and applicable to our beloved Cleveland Metroparks that I relinquish my usual monthly message to you and ask the author’s permission to share it instead. This is one of those articles, speaking of the horrific impacts of alien plant invaders and exp... View More >
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Protecting the Great Brecksville Salamander Migration

Posted: 12/27/2012

There is a spectacle in March that remains largely unnoticed by the majority of park users. Every March night, when a gentle rain falls and the air temperature rises above 45°F, hundreds, sometimes thousands of salamanders undertake a perilous trek from the hidden forest haunts across Valley Park... View More >
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Bird Migrations

Posted: 12/27/2012

They are stirring. Restless, their eagerness building, soon they will come, millions upon millions, as the great migration northward begins. No adjective can enlighten a statement about the enormity of it all, the very diversity of songbirds and the masses that swarm through on starlit nights as ... View More >
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Notes on the Future of Life

Posted: 12/27/2012

Technology Marches On In mid-June this year, it was announced that a technology firm had created an artificial DNA-like structure that could self-replicate, creating what has been described as an artificial bacteria. Never before in the history of mankind has non-living matter been able to duplic... View More >
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Saint John's Wort, The Solstice Flower

Posted: 12/27/2012

There are icons that emerge from one's life, things that add meaning to the calendar and the circular flow of time through the year. Some are simple, like spring migration and December snow, and others are individual and often deeply personal, arising from discoveries and experiences that have sh... View More >

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