Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

Annual Mill Creek MetroParks Earth Day Cleanup seeks groups to participate

With more than 40 locations in the Mill Creek MetroParks system needing attention, groups are needed more than ever to lend a hand and participate in this year’s Earth Day Cleanup.

Although more than 300 Scouts and volunteers are expected to scour Mill Creek MetroParks in recognition of Earth Day to remove winter buildup of litter and debris, more help is needed. The cleanup is co-sponsored by the Whispering Pines District of the Great Trail Council, B.S.A. and Mill Creek MetroParks.

The cleanup will take place on April 21 throughout Mill Creek MetroParks. Coordinators will stop by the Ford Nature Education Center (840 Old Furnace Road, Youngstown, OH 44511) to pick up supplies before 9 a.m. and then meet with their groups at various locations and work until noon. This cleanup takes place rain or shine.

In 35 years, more than 11,725 participants have volunteered more than 36,000 hours to clean various areas of the MetroParks. Just in the past 16 years, more than 2,400 bags of trash and 1,100 bags of recyclables along with numerous loose items such as tires, toys, furniture, pipes, wood crates, electronic items and even the proverbial kitchen sink, have been removed. Last year, there were fewer bags of trash but more bags of recyclables.

As in years past, sponsorship of this event is in cooperation with the Recycling Division of the Mahoning County Green Team. They will be providing these hardworking volunteers with trash and recycling bags, gloves and grab-its, as well as pencils, certificates and car litter bags for each participant.

This event is also in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, the country’s largest community improvement program that kicks off in more than 20,000 communities each spring. This national program engages more than 5 million volunteers and participants who take action in their communities every year to create positive change and lasting impact. Details can be found out at https://www.kab.org/our-partners. The MetroParks hosts the event by facilitating the organization and registration of groups, sites and supplies.

Areas within this cleanup include Mill Creek Park and Mill Creek MetroParks Regional Facilities Yellow Creek Park and the MetroParks Farm.

For more information about this year’s cleanup or to have your group, organization, church, school, family or individuals come out and lend a hand, call the Ford Nature Education Center at 330-740-7107 or Mike Kupec, Mill Creek MetroParks Earth Day Cleanup Chairman for the Boy Scouts, at 330-519-3988.

 View the full article at vindy.com

Certified PGA Pro

Andy Santor, head professional at Mill Creek Golf Course, has become a certified PGA Professional in the Professional Golfers’ Association of America, Mill Creek MetroParks announced.

PGA’s certified professional program offers four certifications: player development, golf operations, golf facility management and teaching and coaching.

“I’m extremely excited to offer the new skills I’ve recently acquired in the PGA Certified Teaching & Coaching Education program at Mill Creek this season,” Santor said. “This will give us the ability to offer unique, expanded and cutting-edge instructional services moving forward. In addition, it will help us keep our programs fresh and inviting as we look to continue the growth and popularity of our sport in the Mahoning Valley.”

View the full article at vindy.com

Learn gardening practices in new MetroParks course

Successful indoor gardening requires knowledge of both plant material and growing techniques. Learning how to select the right plants for your indoor space, houseplant basics, light levels and temperatures can increase your plant’s survival rate. Because even though we can control our indoor environment more steadily than the outdoors, at times it seems harder to keep plants alive. However, benefits of having plants indoors through the winter and even year-round are numerous and might outweigh the perceived barriers of their survival rate.

Plants can be mood enhancers, reducing stress, anger, fatigue and anxiety. NASA studies have shown that certain species of indoor plants reduce air pollution by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent. Of course, there is an increase of oxygen levels when plants are present due to the process of photosynthesis. More and more research is being conducted each month about the benefits of raising indoor plants.

How can you learn more about successfully caring for indoor plants? A new course is being offered at Mill Creek MetroParks starting this month. Over four sessions, the course will cover houseplant basics, plant selections, lighting, temperature and more, plus go in-depth with unique indoor specimens, from orchids to succulents to air plants. Each session is taught by leading local and regional horticulture experts. Joe Mehalik, greenhouse manager at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron starts off the course Feb. 27 with the basics of houseplant care. Learn from the houseplant guru, Lisa Eldred Steinkopf on March 20 about air plants and what to do with the plants you receive during holidays. April showcases local experts Dave Miller, orchids (April 17); Carol A. Knock, succulents; and Marie Borocz, terrariums (April 24) – and their knowledge and talents for raising these unique indoor plants.

The indoor gardening course is offered as part of the John and Doris Andrews Horticulture Certificate Program, which is sponsored through Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens. The Andrews Horticulture Program gives you, the home gardener, the knowledge and skill to select plants and to successfully cultivate your home landscape. The curriculum assists you in developing the gardening techniques best suited for Ohio gardens. Learn through lectures, engaging labs outside at Fellows Riverside Gardens, and optional hands-on volunteer work. Previous and upcoming courses include: The Fundamentals of Green Gardening, Garden Design for the Home Landscape, and Plant Propagation.

To learn more about the Indoor Gardening course, which will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays starting Feb. 27, contact Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330-740-7116 or www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

View the full article at vindy.com

Jeff Harvey to serve on the Mill Creek MetroParks board

Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr. tonight swore in Jeff Harvey to serve on the Mill Creek MetroParks board. 

Another new appointment to the board, Paul Olivier, will be sworn in at a later date, as he was unable to attend the MetroParks board meeting tonight. 

Judge Rusu called Harvey and Olivier “just as diverse” as the park itself. Harvey is a longtime park volunteer; owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Boardman; and president of the local Audubon Society. Olivier is a Mercy Health executive.  

Judge Rusu said Harvey will bring nature education, wildlife and conservancy expertise to the board, while Olivier will bring his knowledge of business and handling budgetary issues. 

Harvey and Olivier replace Tom Shipka and John Ragan, who did not seek reappoint when their board terms expired at the end of 2017. 

View the full article at vindy.com

Orchid show brings early spring to Fellows Riverside Gardens

Temperatures have dipped into the teens and lower. Snow melts just long enough to tease with patches of ugly brown grass before a new layer of white stuff covers them.

It’s the kind of weather that makes one dream of a vacation to a tropical locale, even if that bank account balance is a constant reminder that the only affordable destination is the hardware store for a new snow shovel.

The snow still is visible looking out the windows at Fellows Riverside Gardens’ D.D and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center, but inside it’s filled with tropical sights for the annual Jewels of Winter Orchid Exhibit, which is on display through March 11.

“It’s a glimpse of spring,” said Rob Chismar, garden supervisor for Mill Creek Metroparks. “Even though the orchid is not typically a spring flower, it’s just so nice to come out of the snow and ice outside and see these beautiful and fragrant flowers. It’s a sensory experience at an otherwise snowy time of year.”

While some orchids like the Phaleanopsis Blume (or moth orchid) can be found at floral shops year round, many of the flowers on display at the gardens are more rare, both in this region and at this time of year.

At least 150 different types of orchids will be shown.

“There are so many different varieties, so many different types,” Chismar said. “Most folks are familiar with what they see when they go to the big box stores, but there are just so many different varieties and types. There’s something for everyone with orchids, whether you like color, whether you like fragrance, whether you like more of a foliage-based look to a plant. They’re just a bit more exotic than what you find in our area.

“Many orchids are native to a Costa Rican environment, so you don’t see these unique specimens every day.”

Some of flowers have a bell-like bloom on them that has earned them the nickname lady slipper; other features two of the blooms to create a pair of lady slippers. Some have characteristics that make them resemble animal heads. The unique qualities of each plant make the show particularly popular with photographers.

The center has a geothermal design that helps regulate the temperature inside, but Chismar said they need to take additional care about not leaving the loading dock open too long or doing anything else that could drop the temperature inside.

It’s not just the temperature that can make raising orchids a challenge. Chismar explained that orchids are epiphytes, which means they grow on another type of plant material.

“They don’t like someone to come up with a watering can and just dump water on them,” he said. “They need to have that oxygen around their root base … You have to have the right potting media for every orchid — moss, bark, you have to find what works best for that particular type of orchid.

“You have to understand, if an orchid is struggling, you can’t go, ‘Oh, it needs water,’ and grab a water can and some Miracle Gro and toss it on there. We have to err on the side of caution. We’ll do a finger test on every single plant for the duration of the show. If they’re dry, we may supplement them with some water. Others may not need water for the duration of the show.”

This is the 60th anniversary of Fellows Riverside Gardens, which influenced the design of the show.

“We’ve tried to incorporate into almost every show or thing we do this year some type of diamond theme,” Chismar said. “There are a a lot of geometric shapes, diamond shapes. It’s a little more formal than last year’s orchid show. That was done deliberately to let the orchids shine through, to let the beauty of the blooms be at the forefront.”

View the full article at tribtoday.com

Niles man celebrates running anniversary by raising money for MetroParks

Since Jan. 4, 1998, Bo Marchionte hasn’t missed a single day of running.

Rain or shine, in the freezing cold or sweltering heat, the Niles resident laces up his running shoes and puts in the miles.

Many of those miles have been logged in one location: Mill Creek Park. Just about every day for the past decade or so, the park has been his chosen running spot.

It helps that it’s close to home, but it’s more than that: It’s thousands of acres of natural terrain, preserved right next door to the city’s urban core.

“I’m not a world traveler by any stretch, but I don’t think people realize how blessed we are to have this here,” said Marchionte, after finishing up his daily run recently.

As the 20th anniversary of his unbroken running streak approached, Marchionte planned to have a little celebration with his family and friends. After he talked to a friend with experience in fundraising, however, the celebration turned into an effort to help the MetroParks.

A $2,500 goal was set. By the end of the fundraising push last month, Marchionte had raised $5,259 for the MetroParks’ foundation, thanks to donations from family, friends, local businesses and an event at Primanti Bros. restaurant in Niles.

The proceeds will start a new endowment fund for the upkeep of the MetroParks’ trail systems. Those interested in contributing to the fund can contact Chris Litton, MetroParks development director, atLitton@millcreekmetroparks.org.

“I am amazed at this long-term effort and dedication brought forth by Bo,” Aaron Young, MetroParks executive director, said. “With the MetroParks’ newly established endowment fund, this donation will aid in the continued enhancement of the MetroParks trail system for the enjoyment of our park visitors.

“This is a great example of setting a goal and working hard to make an impact with friends and family supporting you along the way,” Young added.

For Marchionte, contributing to the park’s preservation is special. He said it feels good to know that, thanks in part to his efforts, future generations will be able to enjoy the same trails he uses on a daily basis.

His runs take him all over the park – Fellows Riverside Gardens, Lanterman’s Mill, the Bears Den area.

“That’s the best part of the park – you can get around everywhere,” Marchionte said.

Usually, he will run 8 to 10 miles, and sometimes longer if he feels like it.

“It’s not a burden to me,” Marchionte said of running. “I want to be here. I wish I could have run 100 miles today.”

“I can’t explain it – I just love it,” he said.

View the full article at vindy.com

Judge Rusu announces new Mill Creek MetroParks board members

Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr. of Mahoning County Probate Court has appointed Jeff Harvey and Paul Olivier to fill two open seats on the Mill Creek MetroParks board.

Harvey and Olivier replace two board members who did not seek reappointment when their terms ended last month.

Harvey is a local business owner, president of Audubon Society of Mahoning Valley, and longtime park volunteer.

Olivier is senior vice president/chief network integration officer at Mercy Health.

View the full article at vindy.com

Local runner raises money to donate back to Mill Creek Metroparks

A Niles runner has recently fulfilled a 20-year dream.

Bo Marchionte celebrated his 20 year anniversary on January 4, for running the trails every day in all weather conditions.

Mill Creek officials say Marchionte logged 10 or more miles a day.

About two weeks before his anniversary, Marchionte’s wife and friend decided to raise money and donate it back to Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation in honor of his love for the trails. 

“I am amazed at the long-term effort and dedication brought forth by Bo. We are honored to accept this donation on his behalf. With the MetroParks newly established endowment fund, this donation will aide in the continued enhancement of the MetroParks trail system for the enjoyment of our park visitors,” says Aaron Young, Executive Director of Mill Creek MetroParks. 

The Primanti Brothers in Niles held a fund raising event from January 4-7, where a percentage of sales were donated.

In just two weeks, the family was able to donate over $5,000, breaking the original goal of $2,500.

On Thursday, Marchionte and his family presented a check in the amount of $5,258. The check is the first contribution to the Trail Endowment Fund at Mill Creek MetroParks. 

Park officials say the purpose of the fund is to provide the maintenance and care of the trails.

“I love the park and running the trails there. I am thrilled the contributions on my behalf will be the kickoff of this endowment”, says Marchionte.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Ford Nature guests make bird feeders and hike

Participants visited the Ford Nature Center on Dec. 28 for the “Joy to the Birds“ program, where they made small bird feeders and took a small hike.

Marilyn Williams, a naturalist with Mill Creek Metroparks, welcomed the guests to the center and demonstrated the two types of bird feeders they made during the day.

They began the event by creating starting at one of the two stations to make the bird feeders. For one of the feeders, they tied a string to a pine cone so that it could hang from a tree. They then could spread peanut butter, lard or both on the pinecones. They added sunflower seeds, which stuck to the peanut butter and lard.

The other bird feeder had the guests put food on a pipe cleaner and bend the pipe cleaner in a ring, so the feeder will hang on a tree. The types of food offered to place on the pipe cleaner included Cheerios, grapes, nuts, apples and cranberries.

While the participants worked on their feeders, Williams told the visitors some other ways to help animals during the winter. The overwinter birds need shelter and water along with their food, so one could make a brush bile for their shelter and heat their bird bath to keep the water going through the winter.

After the group finished making the feeders, they went outside to place the feeders on their evergreen tree outside. All guests made multiple feeders, and some chose to take some of their creations home with them to feed the birds out there.

They finished the day off with a small hike down the East Cohasset Hike & Bike Trail. Everyone wore heavy coats and gloves to stay warm on the hike.

View the full article at vindy.com

Sebring Woods parking lot provides access to hiking trail

As part of the MetroParks’ ongoing capital improvement initiative, Mill Creek MetroParks is pleased to announce the completed construction of a 20-vehicle aggregate parking lot at the Sebring Woods facility in the Village of Sebring.

The new parking lot is located on North Johnson Road and provides access to a 0.7-mile primitive hiking trail loop. The primitive trail loop features two natural creek crossings and meanders through a variety of habitats, including wooded wetlands and upland forests.

Along with future projects to be completed in early 2018, the addition of the parking lot provides visitors easier access and enhances the overall user experience at Sebring Woods.

Sebring Woods is the MetroParks’ westernmost facility in Mahoning County. Situated at the intersection of Courtney Road and North Johnson Road, the 39-acre preserve was established in 2010 with a grant through the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund.

Sebring Woods consists primarily of floodplain forest and wooded wetlands interspersed with open marsh and upland habitats. Fish Creek, a tributary to the Mahoning River, meanders through the property and helps create and maintain the wet conditions throughout the year.

In May 2010, staff and volunteers from the MetroParks, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Northeast Ohio Naturalists performed an inventory of Sebring Woods and discovered three plant species that had not been previously documented in Mahoning County. Other rare plants and insects were also observed, as well as a large variety of more common wildflowers and songbirds.

To explore, experience and enjoy Mill Creek MetroParks, visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org or call 330-702-3000. Like metroparks on Facebook at (Mill Creek MetroParks) and follow on Twitter (@MillCreekMetro) and Instagram (millcreekmetroparks).

View the full article at salemnews.net