Tag Archive for: mcmp

Help avoid Poison Ivy this summer!

Have you ever had a Poison Ivy rash? It’s miserable! Awful hives that last for weeks, with only anti-itch creams to help and nothing that really makes it go away. I’m itchy just thinking about it! Poison Ivy produces a toxin called urushiol and it is exposure to the urushiol that causes the skin reactions we all fear. The best defense is to avoid Poison Ivy in the first place, but do you know how to identify it? It grows very aggressively in Ohio, so chances are you’ll come across it if you’re spending time outside. Here are some tips to help identify Poison Ivy:


Remember the rhyme: “Leaves of three, leave them be”. Poison Ivy has compound leaves – clusters of 3 shiny, bright green leaflets with irregular edges.


Leaves can vary in color, with young leaves appearing reddish but turning bright green as they mature.


Poison Ivy tends to grow in shady locations, especially forest edges, along trails, and in landscape beds. It has 3 growth forms:


It can grow as a vine on tree trunks, fences, or buildings


It can grow as a creeping groundcoverg


It can grow almost shrub-like: upright with a woody stem


In autumn the leaves change color to brilliant oranges and reds, which adds to our spectacular autumn scenery.


Even in winter when the leaves have dropped you can still have a reaction if you come in contact with Poison Ivy because the urushiol is always present in the stems, roots, and berries. You can recognize Poison Ivy in winter by the hairy vines and white berries.



So what’s Poison Ivy good for, then? Well, believe it or not Poison Ivy is actually a valuable wildlife plant – wildlife is generally not affected by the urushiol (although it does protect the plant from most caterpillar damage). Deer eat the leaves and berries, rabbits will feed on the stems and bark, and many birds depend on its berries during winter.

In fact, goats are even used in some areas to control Poison Ivy since they love to eat it. Unfortunately, most of us are sensitive to it, so remember: should you come in contact with Poison Ivy, wash the area with cold, running water as soon as possible to minimize the severity of the rash and help control its spread. There are products you can buy that target and remove the urushiol oil so if you spend lots of time outdoors it might be a good idea to check those out. Also, launder contaminated clothing separately.

For more photos and other helpful information, you can visit the following websites: http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/singlerecord.asp?id=420


Garden Adventure is Saturday, June 7 from 10 am – 3 pm!

Family Garden Day is now Garden Adventure, and what an adventure it will be! Mill Creek MetroParks Garden Adventure is presented by Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley and sponsored by WFMJ/WBCB and Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens. Mandy Smith, FRG Horticulture Education Manager spoke with Lori Mowad, FRG Horticulture Educator, to find out more about the day’s events.

MS: Why did Family Garden Day change to Garden Adventure?
LM: Family Garden Day was typically held in August and there were only activities in the Family Garden. Garden Adventure celebrates all of the family-friendly areas found within Fellows Riverside Gardens. We changed the date to the first Saturday in June, the 7th, to encourage families to come out to the Gardens this summer and enjoy the flowers, the activities, Family Garden Fridays, and more. Garden Adventure is a free event and will run from 10 am – 3 pm.

MS: The theme for the Family Garden this year is Alice in Wonderland. Will Alice be at Garden Adventure?
LM: Oh yes, Alice will definitely be at Garden Adventure along with the White Rabbit, the Red Queen, the Red King, the Mad Hatter, Tweedledee, and Tweedledum! The Red Queen will actually be telling stories throughout the day. Families will be able to make their own Mad Hatter hats, play flamingo croquet, craft edible teacups, meet a live rabbit, and plant dahlias that will bloom red or white. By choosing the Alice in Wonderland theme, not only are we are celebrating plants, but also literacy and imagination as well.

MS: How will I be able to find all of the activities?
LM: The entrance to Garden Adventure will be brightly decorated and that is where each family can pick up a map and a schedule of activities. Activities are appropriate for ages 2 and up. In addition to Alice in Wonderland activities, you can make wooden planters with our friends from Home Depot, participate in a Drum Circle in the Ohio Woodland Garden, learn about pollinators and meet the Beekeeper, and visit our Plant Spirals exhibit in the Weller Gallery.

MS: What if I can’t make it to Garden Adventure? Are there other family-friendly activities at the Gardens this summer?
LM: Yes! Every Friday, now through October 17, there are Family Garden Friday drop-in activities from 11 am – 1 pm. Each week focuses on a different theme, such as worms, sunflowers, apples, etc. There are usually plantings, crafts, games, a walk, and a story. A special family program called Flashlights & Fireflies will be held on Thursday, June 26 from 7 – 8:30 pm, where families will go on a tour of the Gardens after sun down and make a firefly craft. Each month, the Gardens offers programs for children ages 3-17. June’s programs are Wonderland Creatures (ages 3-5), Bugs of Wonderland (ages 6-11), and Botanical Soaps (ages 10-17) all held on June 28. To register for these programs, call Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330.740.7116. To see all the family friendly events happening throughout the MetroParks, visit our event page.

For questions or more information about Garden Adventure, call Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330.740.7116. See you in Wonderland!



baby-birdsWith spring in full bloom, we have a number of bird species nesting in the MetroParks!  With so many birds raising their new families, do you know what to do if you find a baby bird outside of its nest? Read on to learn more about MCMP’s new flying friends!

BABY BIRDS IN MCMP: Today, I sat down with Kirsten Peetz, MCMP’s Natural Resources Manager, to learn about our songbird nesting season in MCMP.

ER: What does spring look like for the baby birds in the MetroParks?
KP: We have many songbird species actively nesting now. Generally, eggs are laid, then incubated for about two weeks. After hatching, the baby birds are in the nest for an additional two weeks or so. Eventually they will leave the nest, but their parents are still feeding, protecting, and taking care of them.

ER: Where are the most common places for songbirds to nest?
KP: Songbirds usually build their nests in trees, shrubs, and even tall grass, but others nest in birdhouses, buildings, and sometimes our pavilions. They are very protective over their nests because they are raising their babies, so you may find yourself being scolded or chased away by bird parents if you accidentally get too close to a nest.

ER: What types of birds can visitors expect to see in MCMP this spring?
KP: There are hundreds of species of birds documented in MCMP, and many of them nest here. We have a lot of bluebirds, woodpeckers, swallows, ducks, geese, and even wild turkeys nesting in the MetroParks!

ER: What should visitors do if they find a baby bird outside of its nest?
KP: It’s natural for us to assume that a baby bird needs our help if they are out of their nest. Sometimes they do need our help (for example, if they are injured or are too young to be out of the nest), however leaving the nest before they can really fly is part of their natural development. Usually the best thing is to leave the baby bird where it is, since their parents are still taking care of them, even if they’re on the ground. The babies know how to seek cover and will soon learn how to fly.

woodpeckerMYTHBUSTER: Contrary to common belief, birds will return to their babies and nest even if it’s touched by a human.  Birds actually have a very poor sense of smell!
However, it is very important to realize that leaving the nest is part of growing up for baby birds, and as MetroParks’ visitors we need to allow them to develop naturally. For detailed information on how to evaluate the situation if you come across a baby bird, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

ER: What is your favorite bird during the spring in MCMP?
KP: It’s so hard to pick just one! I do love seeing barn swallows, which are commonly nesting in barns and buildings throughout the MetroParks. They are aerial acrobats, like tiny fighter jets!

ER: Any final thoughts?
KP: I encourage people to watch and listen for the amazing bird life here in the MetroParks!

Upcoming birding opportunities during May in the MetroParks:
Birding the Sanctuary
Mill Creek MetroParks Sanctuary
5/17 8-9:30 a.m.
Search for birds with Jeff Harvey of Wild Birds Unlimited. Boots required. Register at FNC by 5/16

Meet at MetroParks Farm
5/25 2-4 p.m.
Hike along Bluebird Trail to check nest boxes and learn about these beautiful birds.  Moderate, 1.5 or 2.5 mi.
For more information on bird related events or any event in MCMP, visit us at MillCreekMetroParks.org!