Fellows Riverside Garden hosts annual winter celebration

The Mill Creek MetroParks are celebrating Fellow Riverside Garden’s 60th anniversary during their annual Winter Celebration.

This year’s celebration has a “Frozen in Time” theme to celebrate the diamond anniversary of the facility.

Jaime Yohman, the park’s Community Engagement Director, said that annually non-profit organizations purchase 60 trees spread throughout the facility to decorate during the event.

“It’s a community event, and we have a large response from the community throughout the month of December,” Yohman said.

Along with the annual tree walk to celebrate the anniversary, the committee created a memory wall.

“We reached out to the community and asked for any pictures of the gardens throughout the years,” said Sharmon Lesnak, the head volunteer for the event. Lesnak, along with Pam Nock and Debbie Walker, organized the event and coordinated the volunteers.

“We really want to thank the volunteers. They’re great and this would not be possible without them,” Lesnak said.

The planning for the event begins in early June when the committee starts organizing work shop days. During the workshops, Lesnak said they hand-make ornaments to use during the month of December to decorate the gardens.

This year, Lesnak and other committee members used plastic bottles and permanent markers to hand make ornaments for the event. All supplies were donated by community members and created by volunteers.

“It’s a huge undertaking every year,” Yohman said. “But Sharmon is very creative and we always have a beautiful turn out.”

The event will also feature characters from Disney’s “Frozen” to fit the theme.

Sister’s Anna and Elsa will make an appearance on Saturdays during December for children and their families to enjoy.

“It’s really a big community event,” Lesnak said. “We always try to have something for the kids to enjoy.”

Along with the tree walk and the visits from Disney characters, the event will feature a number of musicians to entertain community members. The community is also invited to bring a donation of non perishable food that the park will give to the Second Harvest food bank at the end of the event. Kravitz Deli will also offer food specials throughout December at their Garden Cafe.

“Community members can come in, see the lights and have a nice meal at the cafe,” Yohman said. “It’s really a great event everyone seems to have fun.”

Frozen in Time will run through Dec. 30 at Fellows Riverside Garden, with the garden staying open till 7 p.m. on Saturdays to accommodate guests.

“We really owe so much of this to the lovely volunteers,” Lesnak said. “Without them none of this would be possible.”

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Mill Creek Receives $500K for Ford Nature Center Renovation

Mill Creek MetroParks has received $500,000 from the Florence Simon Beecher & John D. Finnegan Foundations to support the renovation of Ford Nature Center.

The donation will be used to renovate the carriage house, which will serve as an education building and the hub of group tours. For the donation, the carriage house will be named the Beecher Finnegan Education Building.

“This building will serve as the gateway to learning about the natural wonders of the world for thousands of local school children each year. Its impact on not only the Ford Nature Center but the entire MetroParks will be felt for generations to come,” said MetroParks director of development Chris Litton in a release.

So far, a third of the $3 million cost for the renovation project has been raised. The Sand Hill Foundation of Menlo Park, Calif., will match donations made after Nov. 1, 2018, up to $1 million.

Ford Nature Center was donated to Mill Creek MetroParks in 1968 by Tom and Susan Ford, the children of the late Judge John W. Ford. The building, designed by architect Charles F. Owsley, briefly served as the park’s administrative office before being converted to Ford Nature Center in 1972.

Each year, more than 14,000 students visit the center, Litton said, to take part in its exhibits, programs, walking trails and special events.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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Renovation project at Mill Creek receives $500,000

The Ford Nature Center at Mill Creek MetroParks announces it has received a $500,000 contribution toward renovations. 

The Florence Simon Beecher & John D. Finnegan Foundations combined to make the donation to the $3 million project. 

This donation will directly benefit the renovation work on the carriage house which will serve as an education building, a central hub of all school-based and group tours of the Ford Nature Center upon completion. 

The MetroParks Board of Park Commissioners has elected to name the completed structure “The Beecher Finnegan Education Building,” in the donor’s honor. 

“Our grateful appreciation goes out to the Florence Simon Beecher & John D. Finnegan Foundations for their generous contribution to the new Education Building at the Ford Nature Center. This building will serve as the gateway to learning about the natural wonders of the world for thousands of local school children each year. Its impact on not only the Ford Nature Center but the entire MetroParks will be felt for generations to come,” says Chris Litton, Mill Creek MetroParks Director of Development.

The project has currently raised $1 million of the $3 million goal, and The Sand Hill Foundation of Menlo Park, California has offered a challenge grant which will match donations raised after November 1 up to $1 million.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Ford Nature Center Renovation Receives $500,000 Donation

The Florence Simon Beecher & John D. Finnegan Foundations have combined to contribute $500,000 towards the $3 million renovation of the Ford Nature Center at Mill Creek MetroParks. The contribution will directly benefit the work needed to renovate the carriage house currently located on the property (840 Old Furnace Rd., Youngstown) of the Ford Nature Center. Once completed, the carriage house will serve as an education building, a central hub of all school based and group tours of the Ford Nature Center. The MetroParks Board of Park Commissioners have approved naming the structure, The Beecher Finnegan Education Building.

“Our grateful appreciation goes out to the Florence Simon Beecher & John D. Finnegan Foundations for their generous contribution to the new Education Building at the Ford Nature Center. This building will serve as the gateway to learning about the natural wonders of the world for thousands of local school children each year. Its impact on not only the Ford Nature Center but the entire MetroParks will be felt for generations to come,” says Chris Litton, Mill Creek MetroParks Director of Development.

The project has currently raised $1 million of the $3 million goal. The Sand Hill Foundation of Menlo Park, California has generously offered a challenge grant which will match new donations raised after November 1, 2018 up to $1 million.

 

Mill Creek Park plans renovations for Ford Nature Center

Mill Creek Park aimed to collect the money needed to renovate the Ford Nature Center on Giving Tuesday on Nov. 27.

Chris Litton, the director of development, said that the center hasn’t received serious renovations for 25 years.

“The renovations are much needed,” Litton said.

To help them reach this goal, the park received a matching grant from the Sand Hill Foundation in California.

Litton said Sand Hill would match every dollar raised by the park up to $1 million to benefit the center.

“We have never really done this before,” Litton said. “This is a first for us.”

The park was able to raise $7,423 on Tuesday which will be matched by the grant to total $14,846.

Litton said the largest donation of $5,000, came from Thomas and Katherine Shipka.

“We are very grateful to the Shipka’s for their generous and continued support of the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation,” Litton said.

The Ford Nature Center opened in 1972 and is the epicenter of education programs for the park.

Currently housed in the center are the Habitat Room, the Discovery Room and a Live Animal Room.

Children are able to travel to the center to learn about local animals, their habitats and other aspects of the nature in the park.

The center also houses a teachers’ resource center, which has a range of books, videos and other materials for local teachers to use in their class rooms.

The center offers a variety of programs for school age children throughout the year, marking it as one of the most utilized buildings in the Mill Creek Park.

Litton said construction on the center will likely begin in Spring 2019.

“It’s an important building and it needs the renovations,” Litton said.

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Notice of December Board Meeting

The next Regular Meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners, of Mill Creek MetroParks is scheduled for Monday, December 17, 2018, at 6 p.m. in the Rossi Auditorium at Fellows Riverside Gardens, in Youngstown. The agenda will be available on the website after 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting. A meeting of the Public Records Commission will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the same location.

MetroParks Police Sergeants Graduate from Training Programs

Detective Sergeant Jason Clark, of the Mill Creek MetroParks Police Department graduated from the Law Enforcement Foundation’s Police Executive Leadership College (PELC) on November 16, 2018. He was one of 35 students attending the seventieth session of the college.

PELC is an intensive, three-week leadership-training program for law enforcement executives. It is based on the premise that leadership skills can be learned, and given the opportunity for feedback and practice, that executives can substantially improve their leadership abilities. The program involves 105 class hours over three weeks on 20 topics, 24 required readings, 4 research papers, 5 community interviews, 3 speeches, and 3 team projects. Over 2,000 Ohio law enforcement executives have attended PELC since its beginning in 1988. 

Detective Sergeant Clark has served with the Mill Creek MetroParks Police Department for 19 years. His accomplishments during that time have included: Numerous Criminal Cases, Assignment to the Mahoning County Law Enforcement Task Force for 14 years, and numerous community projects such as hooked on fishing. Commenting on the value and importance of PELC, Clark indicated, “The program showed me the value of good leadership and community involvement.”

Sergeant John Novosel, of the Mill Creek MetroParks Police Department graduated from the Law Enforcement Foundation’s Supervisor Training and Education Program (STEP) on November 14, 2018.  Sergeant Novosel was one of 34 students attending the twentieth session of the program.

STEP is designed to develop new supervisors, into highly effective first line supervisors with the competency skills necessary to lead and supervise in a high performance organization. The current STEP curriculum is comprised of nineteen modules including: transition to supervisor, leadership strategies, creating an ethical environment, developing subordinates, mentoring, dealing with problematic employees, effective listening and speaking, improved written communication, administrative skills, performance management, conflict management, critical incident management through table top exercise, supervisory response to line of duty shooting and patrol operations, supervisory response to vehicle and foot pursuits, supervisory response to domestic violence calls, media relations, risk management, capstone case studies, team presentations, panel presentations on contemporary issues, and a First Line Supervisor 360 assessment. Over 500 Ohio law enforcement first-line supervisors have attended STEP since its beginning in 2004.

Mill Creek MetroParks presents Nature Photography Exhibit: Call for Photos

Are you an amateur photographer with a desire to show off your work? Mill Creek MetroParks wants to see your favorite original photos! Entries will be accepted December 18, 2018 – January 6, 2019 for the annual Nature Photography Exhibit. Categories will include: Wild Animals, Plants – Wild or Not, Wild Scenes, Mill Creek MetroParks Scenes, Nature with a Human Touch, Monochrome, and Young Photographers. Submit photos, application, and fee per entry at the Ford Nature Center (840 Old Furnace Road, Youngstown) between December 18, 2018 – January 6, 2019; Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am -5 pm; Sunday, Noon – 5 pm. Full details and application form available by visiting www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

The Nature Photography Exhibit will be on display to the public, free of charge January 19 through March 24, 2019 in the Weller Gallery of the Davis Education & Visitor Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens during normal operating hours of Tuesdays – Sundays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., closed Mondays.

Notice of MetroParks Standing Committee Meeting

The Nature Education Standing Committee to the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks will meet on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, at 4:15 p.m. in Classroom A at the MetroParks Farm.

Mill Creek MetroParks Winter Road Closures

Effective Friday, December 7, 2018 the following roads in Mill Creek Park will be closed to vehicular traffic for the winter:

 

  • High Drive, between Chestnut Hill Drive and West Cohasset Drive
  • Chestnut Hill Drive, between Canfield Road and High Drive
  • Calvary Run Drive, between Belle Vista Avenue and Milton Avenue

 

When closed to vehicular traffic, these roads are available for recreational use for hiking, cross country skiing and sledding. Aside from recreational opportunities, benefits of winter road closures include cost savings associated with snow/ice removal as well as a reduction of negative environmental impacts from deicing salt. All roads will reopen in the spring when weather permits.

 

In the winter months, snow and ice can create slippery roadway conditions. Roads with limited shoulders, lack of guardrails and steep grades can become increasingly hazardous for motorists. Always use caution when driving on MetroParks roads.