Mill Creek MetroParks adds 218 acres of land near wildlife sanctuary

The land includes 3,875 linear feet of Mill Creek and nearly 96 acres of high-quality wetlands on Calla Road.

Mill Creek MetroParks has acquired 218 acres of land near its Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary in Beaver Township.

The land includes 3,875 linear feet of Mill Creek and nearly 96 acres of high-quality wetlands on Calla Road.

The additional land increases the Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary to a total of 482-acres.

A grant from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund provided 75% ($457,500) of the $610,000 total projected cost.

The remaining 25% ($152,500) is being funded by the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation.

Public access including wayfinding signage, an improved trail system and ecological habitat restoration efforts are being planned.

See original article at WFMJ

Children savor breakfast with Santa at Mill Creek gardens

Lucia DePalma’s No. 1 Christmas gift request may require an added dose of creativity and ingenuity on the part of Santa Claus and his busy toy-making elves.

“She wants an Isla’s necklace for Christmas,” Lucia’s mother, Katie, said.

The item, from the film “Barbie Dolphin Magic,” is named after Isla, a mermaid who uses the purple and blue necklace to magically convert her tail to human legs.

For his part, St. Nick used his magic and gift for traveling long distances in short times to be the guest of honor for the annual Breakfast with Santa gathering Saturday morning at Inspired Catering by Kravitz, in the D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitor Center at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens, 123 McKinley Ave., on the West Side.

Santa also stayed for a second 90-minute seating Saturday afternoon at the center.

The holiday-themed, family-friendly event, which was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a favorite pastime for Katie, of Poland, who also plans to take Lucia to see “The Nutcracker” at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh as an added holiday treat. The occasion will mark Lucia’s first trip to the city, her mother said.

First, however, Lucia enjoyed getting acquainted with Santa, as did her younger sister, Vivian, 1, both of whom were among the children who sat on his lap and made their Christmas gift requests known.

The breakfast is a tradition for Lucia, her mother and several other family members that include Lucia’s father, Joe DePalma, and her grandparents, Bob and Gloria Farrow of Poland.

“This is very festive and gets you in the mood,” Katie said about the breakfast. “It’s a very positive and cheery environment.”

St. Nick also seemed to hold fast to a cheerful mood, despite making his presence on a day devoid of snow and with temperatures in the low 60s that was more reminiscent of Easter than Christmas.

For those who have spent Christmases past wondering how St. Nick can climb down chimneys year after year with aplomb, perhaps Lorenzo Pennachio of Liberty has the answer.

“Santa has magic,” Lorenzo, 5, observed. “He shrinks when he goes down the chimney.”

During his one-on-one time with St. Nick, Lorenzo asked for a self-balancing scooter for himself and a doll for younger sister, Liliana, 1, he said.

For Lorenzo’s mother, Cassie, this Christmas will be extra special for more than a different chimney for Santa’s to slide down.

“We’re actually having Christmas in our new house this year,” Cassie said, adding that the family moved last year from Warren.

On Christmas day, things likely will fall more into lockstep with tradition, because Cassie, her husband, Dante, and the two children will be spending time with others that includes extended family members from out of town, Cassie continued.

An estimated 150 people attended the family favorite holiday breakfast, Patty Rydarowicz, Inspired Catering’s senior events coordinator, said. The event also was in partnership with Fellows Riverside Gardens, she added.

The breakfast menu consisted of an omelet and waffle bar, along with bacon, bagels and other traditional foods.

Providing the musical entertainment were members of the Liberty High School choir, who offered their interpretations of popular Christmas tunes such as “Jingle Bells” and “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The students also provided a few dance numbers, including to the song “Santa Baby.”

See original article at The Vindicator

Mill Creek MetroParks Continues Growth to Protect Watershed

Once again, thanks to a successful grant application to the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, Mill Creek MetroParks has efficiently expanded its preservation and water quality protection efforts by acquiring 218 acres of land adjacent to its Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary. The acquired land consists of 218 acres of property including 3,875 linear feet of Mill Creek and nearly 96-acres of high-quality wetlands all located in Beaver Township on Calla Road, just East of Mill Creek. With this acquisition, the Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is now comprised of a total of 482-acres, further enhancing the MetroParks ongoing watershed and wetlands protection efforts.

The Clean Ohio Conservation Fund provided 75% or $457,500 of the $610,000 total project cost, with the remaining 25% or $152,500 required match being provided thanks to financial support from the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation. Future improvements related to public accessibility are currently being planned for the newly acquired property and are expected to include facility and wayfinding signage, an improved trail system, and ecological habitat restoration efforts.

“We are thrilled to be able to announce the continued success of our efforts to preserve critical wetlands and wildlife habitat within the Mill Creek Watershed through the expansion of the Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of MetroParks staff, our partners at the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation, and the support of the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, we are one step further in working to improve the water quality within the region.” said Aaron Young, Executive Director.