Notice of February Board Meeting

The next Regular Meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners, of Mill Creek MetroParks is scheduled for Monday, February 11, 2019, at 6 p.m., in McMahon Hall, at the MetroParks Farm, on Rt. 46, in Canfield. The agenda will be available on the website after 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

Orchids in bloom at Mill Creek Park

Spring feels particularly distant this week as low temperatures hit the Valley, but a kaleidoscope of color is in bloom at Mill Creek MetroParks.

The annual orchid show, Jewels of Winter, opened Tuesday inside Fellows Riverside Gardens.

“It’s always nice this time of year to see color. People come here to the gardens to see the exhibits, see the flowers, grab a cup of soup in the cafe, warm up their senses and get ready for spring,” said Fellows director Andrew Pratt.

The orchids featured in the display vary widely in shape, color, size and scent.

One variety, called Sharry Baby or chocolate orchids, has small, burgundy flowers and emits a distinct cocoa aroma.

In this winter’s exhibit, the flowers are paired with pieces from the collection at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry & Labor.

Fellows staff collaborated with the museum to select artifacts, including a sample of iron ore, safety glasses and industrial boots.

“This year we decided to have an homage to the Valley’s industrial roots, specifically the steel industrial roots of the Valley. … We thought it would be a nice juxtaposition between flowers and harsher artifacts,” said Pratt.

In keeping with the theme, Fellows staff constructed a fountain out of an old drum cap from a fuel tank.

During the display, the Gardens will host two orchid-repotting clinics Feb. 9 and 19. Interested participants can bring their own orchids or purchase them at the clinic.

Although orchids are difficult to care for, their flowers are surprisingly hardy.

“By the end of the show, most of these flowers should be there,” said Pratt.

The show will run until March 3. Fellows Riverside Gardens is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

View the full article at vindy.com

Sprout Club children become mad scientists

Mill Creek Park hosted its monthly Sprout Club meeting on Dec. 13. Park educator Lynn Zocolo ran the event, with a mad science theme.

“We are doing science experiments,” Zocolo said. “If they get a little dirty, that’s even better.”

Sprout Club is a program for preschool-age students, with themes changing month to month. For this program, children got to perform a number of science experiments. Those included testing whether items will sink or float, blowing up ivory soap in the microwave and creating “elephant tooth paste,” according to Zocolo.

“They are all going to wear goggles and they will be able to play with all of that stuff,” she said.

Children were also able to create a fizzy Jell-O experiment and examine a “magic leak proof bag.”

“We will fill a regular plastic bag with water and put pencils through it and it will not leak,” Zocolo said. “It gets them that hands on learning experience.”

During each event students get a special treat, this month being a special concoction of Jell-O and ice cream.

“I don’t go into any of the science behind all this because they are preschoolers we are just going to have fun,” Zocolo said.

She said that it helps get students thinking about science concepts down the road.

“I see some children at their very first class they are so shy and about half way through they get excited and say ‘Ms. Lynn I did this, or that.’”

The class is part of a three part series, at the end of which children receive a trinket from the park for their graduation.

“We have fun, and that’s what I want for them, just to have fun,” Zocolo said.

Next month’s programs are ice cream and beaver themed.

“I always have a wonderful group of volunteers that help,” Zocolo said. “That’s very important because I need all the help I can get.”

For information on upcoming Sprout Club events, go to www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

View the full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek MetroParks presents Jewels of Winter Orchid Exhibit

Mill Creek MetroParks will be hosting the Jewels of Winter, a wonderful celebration and display of orchids at Fellows Riverside Gardens during their normal hours of operation January 29  – March 3, 2019. This year’s theme will showcase orchids interspersed among Valley artifacts, paying homage to its industrialist roots. Orchids are the crown jewels of the plant world, full of color and allure. Let them dazzle you with their brilliance and splendor! Bring your camera, as there will be a kaleidoscope of flowers to photograph.

Fellows Riverside Gardens is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For questions and more information, please call 330.740.7116.

MetroParks plans capital improvements worth $5.36 million

Mill Creek MetroParks planning and operations director Steve Avery presented the park’s capital improvement plan for 2019 at the board’s Monday meeting.

The plan is expected to cost $5.36 million, with grant money comprising at least $1.18 million of the total.

The plan’s largest project is the redevelopment of the Ford Nature Center, which is expected to cost $3.3 million. 

Thus far, the park has raised about $1 million. The park has also secured a $1 million challenge grant for the project from the Sand Hill Foundation.

Other big-ticket projects include the construction of a maintenance area near the Wick Recreation Area, which will cost about $500,000, and improvements on the golf course, which will cost about $300,000.

View the full article at vindy.com

Promoting unity through art

Students from Trumbull and Mahoning County schools and area colleges are coming together in unity as part of a “Unity Project”designed to not only showcase students’ artistic talents but share a message of building a better community and world.

The Unity Project with the theme “UNITE! Dream to build a better community, a better World” is being displayed through Jan. 31 at Mill Creek MetroParks Fellows Riverside Gardens. A reception and open house to meet students who took part in the project is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education Center.

Tracy Schuler Vivo, director of Visual and Performing Arts for Youngstown City Schools, said this is the second year for the project, which started with Youngstown school children and has expanded to eight other area schools such as Austintown, Liberty, Lordstown, Kent State University and Youngstown State University.

Each school and district submitted large 3-foot by 4-foot collaborative paintings on canvas in December. Pieces include images, symbols, letters and lines along with a theme and quote.

“The Unity Project is a true community effort. The project symbolizes unity through the collaborative painting process. The students showed a lot of effort and work in completing this. This project brought everyone together and shows the community that we can all be part of something together,”she said.

There will be 24 canvases, with 12 from Youngstown schools.

Vivo said students in both elementary and high schools had the opportunity to contribute to the Unity Project, painting in their own way. Each painting was accompanied by a quote explaining each building’s take on unity.

Each school received a blank canvas to be utilized for a collaborative painting / project with visual art students creating a unified vision for the collaborative project in correlation with the theme. A title for the piece and an original quote generated by the discussion between the visual art teacher and students also accompanied it.

“This project was a big success last school year in its inaugural year and we are now broadening our reach to other districts and area universities this year. Last year’s images will soon be displayed permanently in downtown Youngstown in collaboration with YSUscape,” she said.

Following the display at Mill Creek Park, the exhibit will be shown at other area locations for the remainder of the 2018-19 school year, at community venues such as Mahoning County Library branches and the McDonough Museum of Art.

Verna DelDuca, art teacher for Lordstown schools, said each student taking art at Lordstown High School was asked to develop and contribute to the art piece that promoted community building. When completed, the project was titled “Rays of Light” with the slogan “Let the community rays of light shine.”

View the full article at tribtoday.com

Notice of MetroParks Standing Committee Meeting

The Nature Education Standing Committee to the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks will meet on Thursday, January 17, 2019, at 6:30 pm, at the Ford Nature Center.

Notice of January Board Meeting

The next Regular Meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners, of Mill Creek MetroParks is scheduled for Monday, January 14, 2019, at 6 p.m. in McMahon Hall, at the MetroParks Farm, on Rt. 46 in Canfield. The agenda will be available on the website after 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

Mill Creek Park still looking for $1 million to renovate Ford Nature Center

 

Four years ago, Mill Creek MetroParks announced plans to renovate the Ford Nature Center. But, the park system is still $1 million short of the money needed to get it done.

It’s been a long fundraising effort which, if all goes as planned, should end in the next few months.

Looking at some of the park’s drawings can give you an idea of what a renovated Ford Nature Center will look like.

“As you move around to the back of the building, you’ll see some dramatic changes,” said Mill Creek Development Director Chris Litton.

The back of Judge John Ford’s 106-year-old house will be the focal point of the renovation, with a landscaped patio on top of a new exhibit space built into the hill.

The exterior will be cleaned and the carriage house transformed into an education center. Inside is where, since 1972, students have been taught about nature. It too will be redone with new stairs and an elevator added.

“It’s a $3 million project. We’ve raised $1 million over the course of the last year and we received a million dollar match from the Sand Hill Foundation of Menlo Park, California,” Litton said.

Sand Hill is run by the daughter-in-law of the late Judge Ford, who lived in the house and gave it to the park. When she heard the house was going to be preserved, she wanted the Ford family to be a part of it.

That leaves $1 million still to be raised, which Litton admits is a lot of money. But, he hopes to have it done by spring.

“People love Mill Creek and love the Ford Nature Center, so we’re very optimistic that we’ll reach that goal,” he said.

The renovation won’t start until all the money is there.

“We’ll start when we have the full $3 million in pledges,” Litton said.

It’s possible some park money could eventually be used, but not $1 million worth.

“We can put park money towards it, but we want to see how much we can raise of the remaining million,” Litton said.

View the full article at wkbn.com

Notice of MetroParks Standing Committee Meetings

The Community Engagement Standing Committee to the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks will meet on Friday, January 11, 2019, at 10 a.m. in Classroom A at the MetroParks Farm.

The Finance Standing Committee to the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks will meet on Saturday, January 12, 2019, at 10 a.m. in Classroom A at the MetroParks Farm.

The Horticulture Standing Committee to the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks will meet on Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at 6 p.m. at Birch Hill Cabin.

The Environment Standing Committee to the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks will meet on Thursday, January 24, 2019, at 12 noon in Classroom A at the MetroParks Farm.