If you haven’t already, stop and take some time to enjoy the Valley’s fall foliage

If you’ve even glanced out your window, you’ve been hit with the striking colors of the leaves this fall. Our weather team has shown you that peak fall foliage is not far off.

Lynn Zocolo, an educator at Mill Creek Park who knows all about the leaves changing, talks about what causes them to change and which trees bring the brightest colors.

There’s one thing we always have to look forward to in the fall, even in the time of COVID-19: the leaves changing.

“They’re looking beautiful but we’re probably going to have to start raking soon,” Zocolo said.

Right now, we’re in what’s called “near peak,” where we have a lot of pops of color, but some of those green leaves are still hanging on.

Peak reds, yellows and oranges are just a few days away.

“So I’m betting by this weekend, beginning of next, we’re gonna be in peak foliage color,” Zocolo said.

Chlorophyll is what makes the leaves green. When fall rolls around, the chlorophyll goes away, and trees store moisture and energy in their trunks and branches.

“Shorter days, cooler nights. The trees know it’s time to shut off the leaves, time to get rid of them, time to save energy for winter,” Zocolo said.

Are the trees brighter than last year?

“It was a little bit more brown last year and I think it was a little bit later last year as well, but when you average out the hot summer days we had and the amount of rainfall we had, it was the perfect recipe for this beautiful fall,” Zocolo said.

Some of the most vibrant trees are the sugar maple, dogwood and sassafras.

Right now, people are taking advantage of the warm weather and Mill Creek Park being right outside their door.

“I think a lot of people have rediscovered the park and rediscovered just how much it means to the Valley as a whole,” Zocolo said.

But enjoy it now because peak foliage only lasts about a week, then the leaves fall into your yard and the trees are left bare.

“Get outside even if it’s just for a short walk in the park or your yard and look up, look down, look all around and just enjoy the season, it’s spectacular,” Zocolo said.

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Volney Rogers Legacy Awards pay homage to 100th anniversary of memorial statue

David Sabine and the Sand Hill Foundation were honored with Volney Rogers Legacy Awards by the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation.

The award, which was created in 2006, is given to those who are dedicated to the MetroParks and its programs.

Sabine, senior vice president and senior trust officer at Huntington National Bank, was honored for his longtime support and dedication to Mill Creek MetroParks and the Foundation. He has played an instrumental role in the restoration and preservation of Lanterman’s Mill and spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the creation of the Beecher Finnegan Education Building, which is part of the Ford Nature Center Redevelopment Project, a news release states.

“I’m very honored to receive the Volney Rogers Award,” Sabine said in the release. “I love the park. It’s a treasure but also represents the sacrifice and energy and devotion Volney Rogers had to create this park. It is our duty to continue that commitment to make sure the park continues to grow and to bring the benefits to the community as it has for this 100 years.”

The Sand Hill Foundation, a private family foundation in Menlo Park, Calif., provides philanthropic support for nonprofit organizations working to alleviate poverty, strengthen families and preserve the natural environment, with a primary focus in the San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula.

The Sand Hill Foundation, established in 1995, has been active with gifts to the Ford Nature Center Endowment Fund and was the Naming Sponsor for the Ford Nature Center Redevelopment Project in 2018. Representatives from The Sand Hill Foundation were unable to travel to attend the award presentation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s award presentation coincided with the 100-year anniversary of the dedication of the Volney Rogers Memorial Statue, located at the Memorial Entrance of Mill Creek Park at the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Memorial Hill Drive. Rogers, who established Mill Creek Park in 1891, died Dec. 3, 1919. The bronze statue, sculpted in his likeness, was unveiled Oct. 12, 1920.

In tribute to the centennial of the statue’s dedication, the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation commissioned Freshmade 3D, housed at the Youngstown Business Incubator, to create a scaled replica of the statue for the award.

“What makes the award so special is that it utilizes cutting-edge 3D printing technology from right here in Youngstown to pay homage to Volney Rogers and an event that took place a century ago,” Chris Litton, development director for Mill Creek MetroParks, said.

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Statue dedication for man who saved, created Mill Creek Park celebrates centennial

100 years ago — a large crowd showed up for the dedication of a statue honoring Volney Rogers, the man responsible for saving and creating Mill Creek Park.

Several thousand people showed up for the event on that day. Rogers himself was not there because he had died a year earlier.

The statue still stands today as a memorial to the man who helped preserve one of the area’s natural treasures.

In honor of the anniversary, the MetroParks Foundation awarded the Volney Rogers Legacy Award to David Sabine and the Sand Hill Foundation of California.

Sabine has helped preserve Lanterman’s Mill and the Ford Nature Center.

Sand Hill was a major contributor to the Nature Center’s redevelopment project.

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