Live! at the Morley with Amanda Jones and the Family Band

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

image009This week on Wednesday, July 16 at 7 p.m., Live! at the Morley welcomes the musical talents of Amanda Jones and the Family Band!

Michael Myhal, the manager, technical director, and acoustic guitarist of the band, provided me with an inside look at Amanda Jones and the Family Band. Take a look behind the scenes of this country group!

ER: How did Amanda Jones and the Family Band come about?

MM: Amanda Jones and the Family Band began as Everyday America, a Sugarland Tribute Band on New Year’s Eve 2011 at First Night Canfield. We had played there a few other years with other bands, but with Amanda as a vocalist who could duplicate Jennifer Nettles so well, it seemed to makes sense. Our next gig was 3 months later as an opening act for the Kentucky Headhunters and from then on for the next year, the band really took off and we had to begin incorporating more material into the longer shows we were asked to do; that is when we began to work Amanda’s original material into the band. Last year, after the release of her 4 song EP and her finding her own style, we changed the name of the band in order to feature her exclusively. We still do many Sugarland songs, but also do a number of covers songs from the likes of Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, etc. as well as her original material. The band is all from NE Ohio, basically Canfield, Alliance and Warren. Right now, we have been going back and forth to Nashville trying to complete her full length CD, which is due out in late summer. While in Nashville, Amanda has had the opportunity to perform at the famous Bluebird Café, Douglas Corner, and other venues.

ER: How many members are there in Amanda Jones and the Family Band and who are they?

MM: The band is comprised of 5 other members besides Amanda; Brittany Fenstermaker on Keys, Nathan Fenstermaker on Bass, Michael Seifert on Lead Guitar, Frank McDougal on Drums and Michael Myhal on Rhythm Guitar. Amanda and Brittany both have extensive training in classical voice, piano, and musical theater. Other members of the band have been in various other bands over the years as well.

image008ER: What type of music does Amanda Jones and the Family Band play?

MM: We perform country/crossover; cover and original material.

ER: Besides Live! at the Morley, where can we expect to see Amanda Jones and the Family Band?

MM: We have about 30 shows lined up through the summer from Lake Chautauqua in Western New York, to Wheeling WV, to Middle Bass Island near Sandusky. Probably our biggest show so far this year will be opening for Grand Ole Opry member Marty Stuart this Saturday, June 28 at Arts on the Allegheny in Kittanning, PA. We will however be here locally at various summer concert series events at Mosquito Lake Marina, Boardman Park and Austintown Township Park. A full schedule of events can be found at both or

ER: Any closing thoughts or feelings about playing in the MetroParks’ summer concert series Live! at the Morley?

MM: Many of us have great memories of Mill Creek Park and the Morley Pavilion, having seen great artists such as Phil Keaggy and others play there. To be a part of this series is a great honor and opportunity for Amanda to really showcase her voice and talent.

Thanks Mike! We cannot wait to hear the powerful sounds of Amanda and the Family Band at the Judge Morley Pavilion in the MetroParks’ summer concert series Live! at the Morley!

For a complete list of summer concerts during Live! at the Morley, visit

Ring Around the Roses

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

With summer in full bloom, so are the roses at Fellows Riverside Gardens! Known for its beautiful displays of annuals, perennials and bulbs, Fellows Riverside Gardens is also home to roses of all classes. Despite their delicacy and beauty, roses have the stubborn reputation of being hard to care for. With that in mind, the Mill Creek MetroParks Horticulture Department’s Assistant Horticulture Director, Ellen Speicher, provided me with helpful tips for tending to these beautiful flowers!

Roses-KidstonER: Roses have a reputation of being finicky flowers that are hard to care for; is this true?

ES: Actually, no. However, because of the climate in this area, some roses are very susceptible to fungal diseases, such as black spot. Hybrid tea roses, with their long stems and large flowers, require more maintenance as opposed to other types of roses. Old-fashioned shrub roses and the newest modern shrub roses, often called landscape roses, require little care. These are vigorous shrub roses that have greater disease resistance and don’t require frequent pruning or fertilizing.

ER: What are some helpful tips for caring for roses?

ES: All roses require full sun and at least one inch of water per week. During the hot summer weeks, they may need to be hand watered if there has not been enough rainfall.  Fertilizing helps! I recommend mixing 2” of compost around each plant every year which adds nutrients and helps loosen the soil. It also helps to supplement with additional fertilizer. This is done once a month at Fellows Riverside Gardens. Also, don’t prune your roses in the fall! Pruning promotes growth and the new growth will just be killed by cold winter weather. It’s best to prune your roses early in the spring.  At the Gardens, we prune the roses in March or April, depending on the weather.

ER: What type of roses can we expect to see at Fellows Riverside Gardens this summer?

ES: We have so many roses at Fellows Riverside Gardens! We have hybrid tea roses, English roses, floribundas, grandifloras, hybrid perpetual roses and many old-fashioned shrub roses.

SingleRoseER: What is your favorite type of rose at Fellows Riverside Gardens?

ES: It’s so hard to pick! I would have to say the hybrid perpetual roses that are located around the Gazebo. Hybrid perpetuals are large plants that bear large flowers which are extremely fragrant! My favorite color of rose is pink.

CHECK IT OUT: Located in the Modern Rose Garden at Fellows Riverside Gardens is an unusual lavender rose. Can you find it? Take a picture and tweet it @MillCreekMetro!

ER: Any final tips for caring for roses this summer?

ES: With all of the rainy weather, conditions for black spot are heightened. Black spot is a fungal disease that attacks the leaves of plants. If conditions were drier, black spot would not be as much of a threat, however the humidity and wetness provide the conditions for this disease to spread. If you begin to see spots of black on the leaves of your roses, pinch them off to stop the spread of black spot.

Thank you, Ellen, for all of the helpful advice on tending to roses!

Come to Fellows Riverside Gardens to explore, experience, and enjoy the MetroParks beautiful display of roses!

Live! at the Morley with Blue Lunch

LiveMorley-logo-final (2)

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

This week on Wednesday, July 9, Blue Lunch is playing at the Judge Morley Pavilion at the Wick Recreation Area as a part of Mill Creek MetroParks’ summer concert series Live! at the Morley!

Looking forward to tomorrow’s performance is Bob Frank, Blue Lunch’s guitarist, with an inside look at this blues-swing band!

ER: What is Blue Lunch’s history?

BF: The band started up in 1984 as a spinoff of the Cruise Masters; another local band that is still playing. Around 1995, the band began taking a new direction, which is when I joined. We began replacing members, and Pete London is the only member left from the original band. By 1997-98, all of the group’s members were in place, and we have been together for sixteen years. As of now, all of Blue Lunch’s members reside on the Eastside of Cleveland.

ER: How many members are there of Blue Lunch and who are they?

act-bluelunch-mainBF: There are eight members of Blue Lunch. I am the guitarist and one of the vocalists. I also contribute as the primary songwriter and producer for the band’s recordings. Also a member of Blue Lunch is Bob Michael, an accomplished trombone player who brings a wealth of musical experience to Blue Lunch. Our saxophone player is Chris Burge who began his music career at The Ohio State University and now plays with many groups including Blue Lunch. Pete London is our front man of the group as he is our harmonica player and vocalist. Pete is the unofficial leader of Blue Lunch and the only original member of the band. Mike Rubin is our trumpet player who brings a lifetime of professionalism to the Blue Lunch band as a much in demand session player. Holding the drum position in Blue Lunch is Scott Flowers who played on the first Blue Lunch recording and now plays again on our fifth and newest cd, Sideswiped. Expert on both electric and upright basses in Blue Lunch is Ray DeForest and lastly, Mike Sands brings his traditionally based piano playing to Blue Lunch on the keyboard.

ER: What type of music does Blue Lunch play?

BF: That is the hardest question to answer! We play every facet of blues, from low down delta blues to jazz and everything in between. We put a lot of emphasis on Memphis and New Orleans soul.

ER: Besides Live! at the Morley, where else can we expect to see Blue Lunch?

BF: After Live! at the Morley, we will be playing at John Carroll University in University Heights, OH on Thursday, July 10. You can also see us at Shaker Square in Cleveland, OH on Saturday, July 19. On August 29, we will perform in the Legacy Village Concert Series in Legacy Village in Lyndhurst, OH.

For a complete list of live show dates for Blue Lunch, please visit to see all of the places you can find Blue Lunch this summer!

ER: Any big news or closing thoughts about the band?

BF: Our biggest news is that we signed with a west coast record company called Ripcat Records. This was unexpected, and the cd contains material from all six previous Blue Lunch CDs as well as new material. Blue Lunch Special, is out to commemorate our 30th anniversary as a band which takes place in 2014. This will be our first significant release in a while!

Thanks Bob and Blue Lunch for sharing your musical talents with us this summer during Live! at the Morley!

For more information about Blue Lunch, please visit Check out to view a complete schedule of other bands playing Live! at the Morley in the MetroParks’ summer concert series! Hope to see you at the Morley enjoying the bluesy sounds of Blue Lunch tomorrow!

All Hail the Trails

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

This Saturday, June 7, 2014, is National Trails Day! Hosted by the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day is a celebration of America’s grand trail system. All across the country, people will be partaking in outdoor activities that celebrate the importance and benefits of trails.

Mill Creek Park offers 20 miles of drives and 15 miles of foot trails. These trails allow visitors to access nature for recreation, education, and exploration. Visitors to the MetroParks have the opportunity to get outside, breathe, exercise, escape stresses, and enjoy the scenic routes of the MetroParks individually or with family and friends. In honor of National Trails Day, I sat down with Justin Rogers, MCMP’s Planning Manager to discuss the beautiful trails that are found in MCMP.

ER: Can you tell me a little bit about trails in MCMP?

JR: There are predominantly two types of trails in MCMP: primitive hiking trails and paved multi-use trails. Primitive hiking trails are the natural, barren ground trails that travel through lush vegetation or alongside bodies of water. These trails offer a natural route with scenic views of the MetroParks. Historically, many of these trails developed in the 1920’s and 30’s as Mill Creek Park began to expand. Regarding paved trails, these are the trails that cater to cyclists, runners, walkers, and many other visitors seeking a paved surface for active recreation.

ER: What goes in to the planning and maintenance of MCMP trails?

JR: There are many factors that go into planning trails in the MetroParks. We aim to create a uniform walking surface that provides a natural, scenic route for all visitors. Elements such as vegetation, streams, bridges, topography, and grade all factor in to the alignment of trails. Regarding maintenance, the MetroParks has a dedicated crew that works year round to address trail issues. This crew focuses on drainage issues, exposed tree roots, and rerouting trails for safety reasons.

ER: What are the most popular trails in MCMP and why?

JR: The East Golf Hike/Bike Trail that runs 1.5 miles from Route 224 to Shields Road is the one of the most popular trails. Its convenient location and exceptional condition makes this paved multi-use trail a popular destination for recreation in the MetroParks. The MetroParks Bikeway is also extremely popular because of its expansive nature. With 11 miles of paved roadway, it includes three trailheads and various spur trails that extend into nearby neighborhoods. It travels through various environments of farm and forest and also caters to longer distance recreation. The Bikeway is the MetroParks’ physical connection to neighboring counties and the region as a section of the Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway. In other words, the MetroParks Bikeway acts as a linear park that showcases natural environments while providing transportation and recreational opportunities.

ER: What is the most challenging trail in MCMP and why?

JR: I would say that there are two trails that I consider most challenging in the MetroParks. First, the West Cohasset Walk Trail found on the west side of Lake Cohasset because of its ravine trail segments that travel up and down a hilly terrain. Another challenging trail in the MetroParks is the West Gorge Trail by the Mill. Opposite from the East Gorge Boardwalk, the West Gorge Trail travels alongside Mill Creek through massive walls of sandstone that enhance the experience of a challenging route. The southern trails through Yellow Creek Park also provide a challenging, unique experience.

ER: What do trails offer to visitors of MCMP?

JR: Our trails are versatile. As seasons change, MCMP’s trails still provide intimate views, a connected experience with nature, and allow for exploration in the undeveloped parts of the MetroParks. Whether an individual is seeking active recreation encompassing health and fitness or passive recreation including birding, geocaching, or a leisurely stroll, our trails provide options to the individuality of each MetroParks visitor.

ER: What are your favorite trails in MCMP?

JR: One of my favorite trails in the MetroParks is the trail system at the Mill Creek Preserve on Western Reserve Road. I really love this trail because I was project manager for the Wetland Restoration Project that took place in 2009. By constructing a trail system, we created a wetland system to control storm water and reestablish various wetland habitat. It also provides an interpretive educational experience of the MetroParks. As for paved trails, I enjoy the East Cohasset Trail because it was the first roadway in Mill Creek Park and the MetroParks Bikeway because of its expansive nature. A really great foot trail to experience is the Mindy Henning Memorial Trail located off of the MetroParks Bikeway. It’s a tucked away jewel; you travel through agricultural fields, forestry, then you circle a hidden pond. This trail showcases the natural, successional growth around the farm and provides a different experience and view of the MetroParks Farm.

ER: Any final thoughts?

JR: Get out and enjoy the trails! I would love to see more people experience these trails. They are diverse, well-maintained by MetroParks personnel, and provide a different experience throughout each season for both education and recreation.

For more information about MCMP’s trails visit and Happy National Trails Day!

Help avoid Poison Ivy this summer!

Have you ever had a Poison Ivy rash? It’s miserable! Awful hives that last for weeks, with only anti-itch creams to help and nothing that really makes it go away. I’m itchy just thinking about it! Poison Ivy produces a toxin called urushiol and it is exposure to the urushiol that causes the skin reactions we all fear. The best defense is to avoid Poison Ivy in the first place, but do you know how to identify it? It grows very aggressively in Ohio, so chances are you’ll come across it if you’re spending time outside. Here are some tips to help identify Poison Ivy:


Remember the rhyme: “Leaves of three, leave them be”. Poison Ivy has compound leaves – clusters of 3 shiny, bright green leaflets with irregular edges.


Leaves can vary in color, with young leaves appearing reddish but turning bright green as they mature.


Poison Ivy tends to grow in shady locations, especially forest edges, along trails, and in landscape beds. It has 3 growth forms:


It can grow as a vine on tree trunks, fences, or buildings


It can grow as a creeping groundcoverg


It can grow almost shrub-like: upright with a woody stem


In autumn the leaves change color to brilliant oranges and reds, which adds to our spectacular autumn scenery.


Even in winter when the leaves have dropped you can still have a reaction if you come in contact with Poison Ivy because the urushiol is always present in the stems, roots, and berries. You can recognize Poison Ivy in winter by the hairy vines and white berries.



So what’s Poison Ivy good for, then? Well, believe it or not Poison Ivy is actually a valuable wildlife plant – wildlife is generally not affected by the urushiol (although it does protect the plant from most caterpillar damage). Deer eat the leaves and berries, rabbits will feed on the stems and bark, and many birds depend on its berries during winter.

In fact, goats are even used in some areas to control Poison Ivy since they love to eat it. Unfortunately, most of us are sensitive to it, so remember: should you come in contact with Poison Ivy, wash the area with cold, running water as soon as possible to minimize the severity of the rash and help control its spread. There are products you can buy that target and remove the urushiol oil so if you spend lots of time outdoors it might be a good idea to check those out. Also, launder contaminated clothing separately.

For more photos and other helpful information, you can visit the following websites:


Garden Adventure is Saturday, June 7 from 10 am – 3 pm!

Family Garden Day is now Garden Adventure, and what an adventure it will be! Mill Creek MetroParks Garden Adventure is presented by Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley and sponsored by WFMJ/WBCB and Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens. Mandy Smith, FRG Horticulture Education Manager spoke with Lori Mowad, FRG Horticulture Educator, to find out more about the day’s events.

MS: Why did Family Garden Day change to Garden Adventure?
LM: Family Garden Day was typically held in August and there were only activities in the Family Garden. Garden Adventure celebrates all of the family-friendly areas found within Fellows Riverside Gardens. We changed the date to the first Saturday in June, the 7th, to encourage families to come out to the Gardens this summer and enjoy the flowers, the activities, Family Garden Fridays, and more. Garden Adventure is a free event and will run from 10 am – 3 pm.

MS: The theme for the Family Garden this year is Alice in Wonderland. Will Alice be at Garden Adventure?
LM: Oh yes, Alice will definitely be at Garden Adventure along with the White Rabbit, the Red Queen, the Red King, the Mad Hatter, Tweedledee, and Tweedledum! The Red Queen will actually be telling stories throughout the day. Families will be able to make their own Mad Hatter hats, play flamingo croquet, craft edible teacups, meet a live rabbit, and plant dahlias that will bloom red or white. By choosing the Alice in Wonderland theme, not only are we are celebrating plants, but also literacy and imagination as well.

MS: How will I be able to find all of the activities?
LM: The entrance to Garden Adventure will be brightly decorated and that is where each family can pick up a map and a schedule of activities. Activities are appropriate for ages 2 and up. In addition to Alice in Wonderland activities, you can make wooden planters with our friends from Home Depot, participate in a Drum Circle in the Ohio Woodland Garden, learn about pollinators and meet the Beekeeper, and visit our Plant Spirals exhibit in the Weller Gallery.

MS: What if I can’t make it to Garden Adventure? Are there other family-friendly activities at the Gardens this summer?
LM: Yes! Every Friday, now through October 17, there are Family Garden Friday drop-in activities from 11 am – 1 pm. Each week focuses on a different theme, such as worms, sunflowers, apples, etc. There are usually plantings, crafts, games, a walk, and a story. A special family program called Flashlights & Fireflies will be held on Thursday, June 26 from 7 – 8:30 pm, where families will go on a tour of the Gardens after sun down and make a firefly craft. Each month, the Gardens offers programs for children ages 3-17. June’s programs are Wonderland Creatures (ages 3-5), Bugs of Wonderland (ages 6-11), and Botanical Soaps (ages 10-17) all held on June 28. To register for these programs, call Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330.740.7116. To see all the family friendly events happening throughout the MetroParks, visit our event page.

For questions or more information about Garden Adventure, call Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330.740.7116. See you in Wonderland!



baby-birdsWith spring in full bloom, we have a number of bird species nesting in the MetroParks!  With so many birds raising their new families, do you know what to do if you find a baby bird outside of its nest? Read on to learn more about MCMP’s new flying friends!

BABY BIRDS IN MCMP: Today, I sat down with Kirsten Peetz, MCMP’s Natural Resources Manager, to learn about our songbird nesting season in MCMP.

ER: What does spring look like for the baby birds in the MetroParks?
KP: We have many songbird species actively nesting now. Generally, eggs are laid, then incubated for about two weeks. After hatching, the baby birds are in the nest for an additional two weeks or so. Eventually they will leave the nest, but their parents are still feeding, protecting, and taking care of them.

ER: Where are the most common places for songbirds to nest?
KP: Songbirds usually build their nests in trees, shrubs, and even tall grass, but others nest in birdhouses, buildings, and sometimes our pavilions. They are very protective over their nests because they are raising their babies, so you may find yourself being scolded or chased away by bird parents if you accidentally get too close to a nest.

ER: What types of birds can visitors expect to see in MCMP this spring?
KP: There are hundreds of species of birds documented in MCMP, and many of them nest here. We have a lot of bluebirds, woodpeckers, swallows, ducks, geese, and even wild turkeys nesting in the MetroParks!

ER: What should visitors do if they find a baby bird outside of its nest?
KP: It’s natural for us to assume that a baby bird needs our help if they are out of their nest. Sometimes they do need our help (for example, if they are injured or are too young to be out of the nest), however leaving the nest before they can really fly is part of their natural development. Usually the best thing is to leave the baby bird where it is, since their parents are still taking care of them, even if they’re on the ground. The babies know how to seek cover and will soon learn how to fly.

woodpeckerMYTHBUSTER: Contrary to common belief, birds will return to their babies and nest even if it’s touched by a human.  Birds actually have a very poor sense of smell!
However, it is very important to realize that leaving the nest is part of growing up for baby birds, and as MetroParks’ visitors we need to allow them to develop naturally. For detailed information on how to evaluate the situation if you come across a baby bird, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

ER: What is your favorite bird during the spring in MCMP?
KP: It’s so hard to pick just one! I do love seeing barn swallows, which are commonly nesting in barns and buildings throughout the MetroParks. They are aerial acrobats, like tiny fighter jets!

ER: Any final thoughts?
KP: I encourage people to watch and listen for the amazing bird life here in the MetroParks!

Upcoming birding opportunities during May in the MetroParks:
Birding the Sanctuary
Mill Creek MetroParks Sanctuary
5/17 8-9:30 a.m.
Search for birds with Jeff Harvey of Wild Birds Unlimited. Boots required. Register at FNC by 5/16

Meet at MetroParks Farm
5/25 2-4 p.m.
Hike along Bluebird Trail to check nest boxes and learn about these beautiful birds.  Moderate, 1.5 or 2.5 mi.
For more information on bird related events or any event in MCMP, visit us at!


Get a Taste of Tradition at Lanterman’s Mill

cookbookRecipes of Youngstown all started with a Facebook page where members could share recipes, ideas, and stories of their days in Youngstown. The response was so great that the idea of a cookbook began to form, and a few months later, Recipes of Youngstown was born. Offered in the cookbook are 550 of the most loved recipes from people who have a connection to Youngstown. Some recipes even include short stories and memories that go along with them, along with a very special recipe – the original recipe for Idora Park French fries.

A tasting event and book launch for the Recipes of Youngstown cookbook will be held Sunday, May 18 from noon to 4 pm at Lanterman’s Mill. You can taste 6 recipes for a $5 donation and no RSVP is required, though food quantities limited so it is first come first served. Sample traditional appetizers, main dishes and desserts created by contributors to the Recipes of Youngstown! cookbook and meet some of the authors. Participate in a basket raffle or purchase a chance to win an oil painting of Lanterman’s Mill by local artist Jack Morgan.

All proceeds from this event and the sales from Recipes of Youngstown will benefit the Lanterman’s Mill Restoration Fund to keep the Mill grinding wheat and corn and remain an iconic part of Mahoning County for all to enjoy. We hope the book will also inspire you to make something special that will bring back memories of your childhood–or make a few new memories to share with future generations.


It’s WILDLIFE WEDNESDAY at Mill Creek MetroParks!

It’s May, so you may start to see white-tailed deer and their sweet little fawns throughout Mill Creek MetroParks and even in your yard or other areas. What should you do if you find a fawn without its mother?

deerFirst: DO NOT touch or disturb the fawn. Chances are that the mother is not very far away and will return shortly.
Second: make sure you keep your dogs away – the fawn won’t want to play with them!

While fawns are able to walk soon after birth, a mother deer will leave her young fawns to rest in a secluded location while she goes off to feed. Their natural instincts tell the fawns to lie low and they are generally safe from predators and other harm. Mothers return to their fawns throughout the day to allow them to nurse. In our area, fawns are often spotted in yards and parks, where people mistake the lone fawns for orphans or believe they are in distress and need human intervention. The reality is that even young deer do not need our help – they are born hard-wired with strong instincts to survive.

If you would like to learn more about fawns, call the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-WILDLIFE.


It’s a BEEutiful spring at Fellows Riverside Gardens!

It’s all about BEES this spring at Fellows Riverside Gardens! Yesterday, we received additional hives to install in our Family Garden, and we now have our own honey and beeswax candles for sale! Read on to learn more about our buzzzzzzy friends!

11NEW BEES COME TO THE FAMILY GARDEN: Mandy Smith, FRG Horticulture Education Manager talked to Lori Mowad, FRG Horticulture Educator, and Don Kovach, Beekeeper with the Columbiana and Mahoning County Beekeepers Association to find out more about our new friends!
MS: Why were additional honeybee hives installed in the Family Garden?
LM/DK: We are installing two additional hives, plus replacing one from the two original hives from 2013 that were lost to the cold winter. We wanted to install two more hives to continue educating the public about the importance of pollinators to our health and nutrition. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, out of approximately 100 crop species which provide 90% of our food worldwide, 71 are bee-pollinated! Honey is one of the best natural sweeteners and there are now studies being conducted on the benefits of local honey for allergy sufferers.

MS: Where did these hives originate?
LM/DK: All three hives are fresh from working the almond crops in California. They are an Italian breed of honeybee. We are releasing four pounds of honeybees into these three hives; each pound contains approximately 3,000 bees.

MS: What will these new hives need in order to survive and prosper?
LM/DK: As we put the honeybees in their new hives, we provide them with pollen patties and sugar water, a 1:1 solution, as supplements – basically for a rainy day. The queen is kept in a special box with ‘queen candy’ that keeps her from the rest of the hive. All three queens are new, so it is important for the colony to acclimate to her pheromones before she is released into the hive. The queen candy is eaten by both her and the worker bees, which then releases her and establishes her as queen. If she is released before the bees adjust she may actually be mauled.
The bees being released into the boxes are buzzing around; this is known as their orientation flights. Once the sun begins to set they will settle into the hives and as soon as the weather is warm, they will start collecting pollen.

MS: Why is the Family Garden at Fellows Riverside Gardens such a great place for honeybees and other pollinators?
LM/DK: First, it is the best place for pollinator education. We rely on our pollinators now more than ever. It is estimated that Ohio lost 40% of the honeybee population due to winter die off. Second, 23 out of the 24 garden areas at Fellows Riverside Gardens are pesticide-free and there is such a diversity of plant life — it is a safe haven for them. In the original hive, we have already found purple, white and yellow pollen.

MS: Inquiring minds want to know… when can we expect the first batch of honey from these bees?
LM/DK: It truly all depends on the weather. Honeybees need days of 50 degrees or higher to fly to collect pollen — the next ten days look great! The first batch should be ready by the end of July to the beginning of August.

MS: Any final thoughts?
LM/DK: We just want people to appreciate bees and understand their importance to our survival. If anyone sees a bee, please do not kill it, it is simply looking for a pollen source and may be sidetracked. If there is a swarm of bees in or around your home, please make sure that your exterminator knows to contact a beekeeper to collect the bees.

OUR OWN HONEY & BEESWAX CANDLES NOW ON SALE!: Fellows Riverside Gardens is selling honey and beeswax candles from our very own Family Garden! Our new bees will produce honey that should be ready by the end of the summer.

4Family Garden Beeswax Candles are $5 each and burn for 5 hours. They are handmade by FRG staff! The wax for the candles comes from the capped honey frames. We melt the excess wax in a solar wax melter. After the wax is melted, the wax is then strained and filtered of all impurities. There are still some impurities from the bees that remain – you can see small black particles in the candles. After the wax has been strained, we heat the wax and pour it into a silicon candle mold. Some of the wax is kept and we use it to put starter wax foundation on the frames. This helps the bees at the beginning of the new season.The strained part from the solar wax melter is put in our compost bin and then added back to the Family Garden after it has broken down.

3Family Garden Local Honey is $15 for 12 oz., $12 for 8 oz., and $3 for 2 oz. Both the candles and honey make great basket fillers and are truly handmade Youngstown originals! All items available for purchase at the Information Desk at Fellows Riverside Gardens, Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Supplies are limited! Call 330.740.7116 for information. All proceeds from the sale of these items benefit the Family Garden at Fellows Riverside Gardens!