Wood County Park District

Park district agrees to turn farmland into wetlands

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District will be allowing tiled farmland to revert back to wetlands – with the help of a $301,000 grant. The park district board voted last week to work with the Black Swamp Conservancy, which received the grant, to turn 10 acres of the Carter Historic Farm property into a wetlands area. The decision came despite protests by Tom Carpenter, who farms the land which Sally Loomis donated to the park district. “There was a significant amount of labor in clearing that land,” Carpenter said. But with the grant funding needing to be accepted by July 1, the park board voted to go ahead with the first phase of the wetlands project. “I know that’s not the outcome you wanted,” park board president Denny Parish said to Carpenter after the vote. “But I respect you coming.” Carpenter attended many of the park board meetings where the wetlands project was discussed. “I’m just trying to preserve the farmland that’s already there,” he said. Carpenter pointed out that the acreage being turned into wetlands will have a “very, very minimal” impact on Lake Erie, since an estimated 6 million acres drain into the lake. But the idea of turning down grant funding just didn’t sit well with the park board. “I’m sympathetic to what your position is,” Parish said to Carpenter. “But that money is going to be spent,” Parish said. “It’s either going to be spent in Wood County or it’s going to be spent somewhere else.” With the $301,000, the Black Swamp Conservancy plans to make the 10-acre field into a large “bowl” with small pools to hold water longer. Trees and shrubs will be planted, explained Melanie Coulter and Rob Crain, executive director of the conservancy. Berms along the edges of the wetlands will allow for trails that can be used for educational purposes. Crain said work will likely begin on the acreage as soon as the crops are taken off later this year. The wetlands plan will slow down water into the ditch, which leads to the Touissaint Creek, and then to the Maumee River basin. Instead of field water running straight into the ditch from tiles, it will be filtered, Coulter explained. The original plan called for two 10-acre portions to be converted into wetlands in two phases. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said another option could be to turn the second 10 acres into a wet prairie, which would be much less expensive. But two board members, Tom Myers and Bill Cameron, expressed a desire for the park district to fund the rest of the project, estimated at $148,000 to turn the other 10 acres into wetlands. “I hate to see projects start and then stop,” Cameron said. And Myers noted the recent…


Park District offers nature education programs in June

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT   PIPs: Dragonflies and Art in the Park Friday, June 1; 10:00 am – noon WW Knight Nature Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Look for dragonflies through their life cycle and create artwork guided by local artist Valerie Rowley. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Paddle the Pond Every Monday, June-August; 4:00 – 7:30 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Enjoy a float on the pond at W.W. Knight Nature Preserve; perfect for a family outing, comfort-builder for beginners, or relaxing exercise! An instructor will be available for introductory safety and skills education. All boats, life-jackets, and paddles provided. Boats and gear on a first-come-first-served basis. Enjoy a nature walk while you wait! The last Monday of every month will feature kayaks along with canoes: June 26, July 24, August 28.   Kayak Safety & Rescue Saturday, June 2; 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Three Meadows Pond 700 Three Meadows Drive, Perrysburg Join American Canoeing Association instructors to advance your kayak safety and rescue skills. Be prepared to take a swim through this involved course that will help you keep all boats afloat and prepare you for when they don’t. See online description for full details and registration requirements.  Cost: $25, FWCP $20 Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Senior Nature Hike Series Mondays, June 4 and August 6, 10:00 – 11:30 am June 4: WW Knight Nature Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg August 6: Otsego Park 20000 West River Road, Bowling Green Join a naturalist for exercise and the wonder of watching the seasonal changes. The hikes will offer a true mind-body connection. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Bird Song I.D. Part Two Tuesday, June 6; 7:00 – 8:30 pm Slippery Elm Trail: Cricket Frog Cove 14810 Freyman Road, Cygnet Get some experience listening for breeding birds as we build upon skills learned in March’s bird song program. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, June 7, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve Friends’ Green Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age by Richard Louv. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Bike Skills Bash Sunday, June 10; 1:00 – 3:00 pm Black Swamp Preserve 1014 South Maple Street, Bowling Green Learn from the pros of Spoke Life Cycles as they teach fundamental skills to conquer off-road biking challenges and features. Bring your own bike and helmet. This class is appropriate for riders of all skill levels! Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Open Bouldering Wednesday, June 13; 6:00 – 8:00 pm Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg Come anytime between 6:00 and 8:00 to get hands-on with the quarry rock as…


Electric bikes to be allowed on Slippery Elm Trail

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District is planning to open up the Slippery Elm Trail to a new type of traveler – one that may not sweat as much as they pedal against the wind. On Tuesday, the park commissioners voted to go along with Ohio House Bill 250, which allows electric assist bicycles on bike paths that were previously off-limits to anything with an electric motor. The bill permits electric bikes that hit top speeds of 20 mph, but not the more powerful type that go as fast as 28 mph. The reason for allowing the electric bikes is simple, according to Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. “It opens the trails up to a whole different segment of population,” those who cannot ride regular bicycles, he said. “This will give them an opportunity to get out there again,” Munger said. “Let’s see how it works out.” The electric bikes work using a small battery motor, said chief park ranger Todd Nofzinger. “I don’t see it being an issue at all,” Nofzinger said. “It’s electric, so it’s totally silent.” The bikes are quite expensive, Munger said, costing two or three times as much as a regular bicycle. So they will likely be rather rare on the bike trail. “I don’t see any issue with this as well,” he said. The electric bikes will not cause hazards due to their speed, since many bicyclists can pedal as fast as 20 mph, Munger added. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board heard a report from Eric Scott, coordinator of the stewardship program, which focuses on managing the park land. The stewardship staff analyzes the park land and then creates plans for the different properties. The park district has a wide range of land types to care for, Scott said, including woodlots, prairie and wetlands. One of the biggest problems in maintaining the land is intrusion by invasive species of plants, like garlic mustard. Also affecting the land is climate change and encroaching development, Scott said. Options for controlling the sites include prescribed burns of the prairies, mowing, weeding, cutting, herbicides, pesticides and water. The district also works on seed collecting and planting. The district relies on volunteers to help with projects like seed cleaning and planting, Scott said. The stewardship goal is to maintain economic prosperity while sustaining the natural systems. “We want to please the public, but we also want to protect nature,” Scott said. In addition to working with plants, the stewardship program also works to introduce quail and honey bees. The public is encouraged to “adopt-a-garden,” and monitoring programs keep an eye on native plants, streams and butterflies. In other business at meeting, the board accepted the lowest bid of $20,648 for a ranger utility vehicle, from Honda East in Maumee….


Park farmland may be allowed to revert to wetlands

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Twenty acres of farmland north of Bowling Green may be allowed to return to its former state as part of the Great Black Swamp. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger is excited about the park acreage becoming a piece of history and a habitat for wetland wildlife. But the man who has farmed the acreage for four decades isn’t sold on the change. Tom Carpenter doesn’t need the 20 acres for his livelihood. But as a farmer, it just grates on him that well-drained land will be forced back to its wetland roots. And during an open house on the wetlands plan last week, Carpenter didn’t mince words. “Our goal is to keep it farmland,” he said. The 20 acres sit in the back property of the Carter Historic Farm. Other acreage on the farmstead will continue to be farmed. The wetlands project, as proposed by the Black Swamp Conservancy and designed by Hull and Associates, would render 20 acres of farmland unfarmable in the future. The wetlands would have several benefits, according to Melanie Coulter, of the Black Swamp Conservancy. It would filter runoff before it goes into the nearby Toussaint Creek. It would provide habitat for wetlands habitat. And it would give the public a place to view swamp-like conditions that once covered this region. The drain tiles currently in the 20 acres would be blocked to allow the land to flood, explained Jordan Rofkar, of Hull and Associates. Dirt would be moved to create low areas for water and mounds for native trees and shrubs. “The intent is to create a mixture of habitats,” Rofkar said. The small open ponds should attract turtles and frogs, along with birds like herons, ducks and woodcocks, Coulter said. The wetlands should also benefit the water quality for one of the streams that flows into the Maumee River “area of concern,” designated by the U.S. and Ohio EPA, she said. “Wetlands are known to do a lot of water filtration,” she said. For Munger, showing park visitors the historic farm’s previous state and “recreating the Great Black Swamp” is a great opportunity. The park district’s trail through the nearby wooded area may be expanded into the wetlands – possibly as a boardwalk, he said. He is hoping the bulk of the estimated $300,000 cost to transform the area into wetlands will come from grant funding. The proposal will be presented to the park district board of commissioners next for their decision to proceed or not. Carpenter hopes the park board will reconsider. He believes that Sally Loomis Carter, who gave her family’s farm to the park district, would not have wanted the farmland to return to swamp. After all, her family worked hard to drain the acreage so it could be fertile…


County parks levy takes a hike with levy victory

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As voters where casting their ballots, the Wood County Park District board was holding its monthly meeting in the Bradner Preserve. It was a perfect day to be in a park. Sun was shining. Trees were budding. The park board was hoping that feeling would continue into the evening when the votes were counted. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” said park board president Denny Parish. There was no need for caution, since the voters showed that they supported the county park district’s mission by approving the 1-mill renewal levy by 74 percent. The unofficial count was 14,462 to 5,207. The park board was worried of other financial competition on Tuesday’s ballot. “We were concerned there would be several financial issues on the ballot,” Parish said. “But it’s obvious tonight that people who support the parks, support the parks.” The key to such overwhelming support could have been that the park district stuck with its 1-mill levy, rather than increasing its millage. For the last decade, the levy has generated about $2.8 million a year. That amount is expected to grow to $3 million a year because of new construction in the county. Or it could have been all the park district offers for residents. The county park district has grown to 20 different parks, with 1,125 acres, open 365 days a year. “I think it’s just the good work that the people I work with everyday do for the parks,” said Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. The park district may have also won such support by showing voters that it listens to their suggestions. Based on resident requests, new programming has been added – both educational and adventure activities, Munger said. “Everybody likes what we’ve been doing,” he said. “We’ll keep listening to the public to see what they want to see for their parks.” Park district adventure activities include archery, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, geo-caching, hunting, rock rappelling, bicycling and bouldering. Programs are offered throughout the year, including classes on wildlife, bird migration, nature photography, stream studies, fire building, seed cleaning, beekeeping, trees, yoga, tai chi and camping. There are also full moon walks, senior nature hikes, wildflower walks, and summer nature camps. The park district also shares its wealth, with small community parks in the county. The district awards $100,000 a year to local parks for such items as playground equipment, restrooms, or ADA accommodations. During the last several years, the park district has focused funding on land acquisitions.  But that focus is about to shift. “I think we’re looking at a maintenance phase,” Munger said. But don’t think the park district won’t continue to grow – it’s just that they will do so with different funding sources like grants. “I wouldn’t say we’re going to sit back on our…


Park district springs into may with full slate of nature programs

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Park District is offering a variety of nature programs in May. Spring Wildflower Walk                          Tuesday, May 1; 6:00 – 7:30 pm Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg Woodland wildflowers put on a brief, but beautiful show on the forest floor. Join us for a naturalist led stroll to see who is starring this month. Learn why these flowers are called ephemerals. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Archery Skills: Rainbow and Arrow Thursday, May 3; 6:30 – 8:00 pm Otsego Park 20000 West River Road, Bowling Green Improve your archery skills through this short, beginner-friendly instructional program, focusing on the steps of shooting and consistency. Make progress you can see, as we create some artistic targets using our newfound skills. All archery equipment provided, personal gear welcome (inspected at program). Must be 7 yrs of age or older to attend. Minors must be accompanied by legal guardian. Bring a small canvas, shirt, poster, or anything you’d like splatter-painted! $5/$3 FWCP Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, May 3, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve Friends’ Green Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Sea Around Us, Special Edition (1989) by Rachel Carson. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). Register atwww.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Homeschoolers: Bird Migration Friday, May 4; 10:00 – 11:30 am Bradner Preserve: Nature Interpretation Center Northwest Ohio is a great place to witness the spring migration! Learn about where these birds are going, how our parks play an important role, and what species you might see before heading out into the field. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   Heritage Farm Demo Saturday, May 5; 1:00 – 5:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green  Stop by any time during the afternoon the first Saturday of each month to see farm staff and volunteers in action working on the farm. No registration needed. wcparks.org Intro to Nature Photography Tuesday, May 8; 6:00 – 8:00 pm Bradner Nature Interpretation Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Interested in capturing the wonders of the outdoors in photographs, but unsure of what all of those camera settings do? Bring your camera and practice honing your skills at our new Nature Interpretation Center. This session will focus on how to use those camera settings to your advantage. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Nature Journaling Thursday, May 10; 6:30 – 8:00 pm Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg We provide the sketchbook for your outdoor journaling adventure, Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN), Sue Frankforther, is your guide. She’ll share her passion for nature, writing and illustration and get you started. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Spring Tree…


Wood County Park District makes pitch for renewal levy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It doesn’t seem likely the Wood County Park District would suffer from an identity crisis. Where else can county residents hike, bike and revel in nature 365 days a year in 20 different parks with 1,125 acres? Where else can adventure lovers go kayaking, rappelling and geo-caching? But as the county park district nears the May 8 election, there is some concern that Bowling Green voters will confuse the Wood County Park District levy with the city parks and recreation levy that was passed last November. “There is some confusion between the parks,” Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said. “I’m hopeful that we get the word out.” That word includes the fact that the park district is trying for a levy renewal – meaning no extra millage. Board President Denny Parish stressed recently that the renewal will be same millage sought when the park district last passed its levy in 2008. “Which means no new taxes,” Parish said. For the last decade, the levy has generated about $2.8 million a year. That amount is expected to grow to $3 million a year because of new construction in the county. “It won’t cost individual homeowners more than they’ve been paying for the last 10 years.” If approved, the 1-mill levy will cost the owner of a $150,000 home a total of $39.54 per year. Munger said the district is committed to not raising the tax burden on local residents. “We aren’t asking for any additional money,” he said. The park district also wants local residents to know that when they make suggestions, the park district listens. New programming has been added – both educational and adventure activities, Munger said. “Everybody likes what we’ve been doing,” he said. “We’ll keep listening to the public to see what they want to see for their parks.” In 1986, the county park district consisted of two parks – Otsego near Grand Rapids and Harrison near Pemberville. The two part-time maintenance employees used an old beat-up pickup truck with a “Dewey for President” bumper sticker, according to Bob Callecod, who was a park commissioner then. At that point, the two parks were in poor condition, with non-functioning restrooms and rickety railings, Callecod said. Since then, the district has grown to 20 parks and shares its wealth with smaller community parks by awarding $100,000 in local park grants every year. More than $2 million has been given out in grants, he said. Not only the park acreage, but also the programming has grown. In the past few years, park programming has been expanded to add kayaking, rappelling and archery. “We’re always listening to the public about what they want,” Munger said. During the last several years, the park district has focused funding on land acquisitions.  But that…


Thanks for the memories; why you should vote ‘yes’ on county parks levy

Do you have fond memories of picnics in the park? Did your scout troop learn about leaves and animals and insects while at the park? Do you visit the park to bird watch or celebrate a birthday or graduation with family and friends? Do you enjoy walking trails? Are you the more active type and enjoy repelling down a limestone wall? Perhaps a naturalist visited your school or club and shared information you had never considered about various critters. Do you enjoy the challenge of geocache? Is photography your thing and you find perfect subjects at the park? This list could go on and on. And that is why we support the May 8th renewal levy for the Wood County Park District. We hope you will as well by voting “Yes” for your Wood County Parks on May 8th! Joe and Lynne Long Grand Rapids


Bob Callecod: Parks levy protects precious natural resources, provides quality parks & recreation opportunities, and assists local entities

To the Editor: In 1986 I was appointed as a Wood County Park District Commissioner. At that time, the WCPD consisted of Otsego and Wm. Henry Harrison Parks and a very loose agreement with the County to “maintain” the Old Infirmary building and grounds.  Then Director/Secretary Lyle Fletcher and two part-time laborers were expected to maintain those facilities on a budget of about $60,000 provided by the County Commissioners. The entirety of the Park District’s equipment consisted of a beat-up pickup truck and a temperamental riding mower. On my first visit with Lyle to Otsego Park and the building which for many years hosted hundreds of family events, I gagged with the stench emanating from the inoperable restrooms; and nearly fell over when the railing on the stairs leading to the river collapsed when I leaned on it for support.  In the interest of public safety we closed the park shortly thereafter. Wood County ranked 87 out of 88 counties in the amount of land dedicated for parks and recreation. My fellow commissioners, Martha Kudner and George Thompson, and I realized that the only way to restore, protect and build on the natural and historic resources available to Wood County residents was to secure a dedicated source of funding.  That led to the passage in 1988 of a .5 mill, 10-year levy which established the WCPD as a viable entity. Since that time, two more 10-year levies have been approved by the voters and the District now provides and protects 22 parks and facilities encompassing over 1200 acres of precious natural resources. One of the continuing components of that original 1988 levy was the Local Park Improvement Grant Program. The Board felt that a program of assistance to local communities for improvement of their own park areas and facilities would maximize the benefit of the Park District levy for each county resident.  Since its inception over $2,100,000 has been awarded to 34 cities, villages and townships in Wood County. On May 8, the Park District is asking voters to allow it to continue protecting our precious natural resources, provide quality parks and recreation opportunities, and to continue to assist local entities in improving their local recreation areas by approving a 10-year renewal of the existing 1 mill levy.  This is a renewal levy – Your taxes will not go up!    Please show your support for our superb Wood County Park District by voting on May 8!   Bob Callecod Bowling Green


Wetlands plan at park doesn’t sit well with farmer

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As a young boy, Tom Carpenter learned quickly that his neighbor, Everett Carter, liked things done a certain way. At age 12, Carpenter started mowing lawn for the aging farmer. “Can you make straight lines,” Carpenter recalled Carter asking him. “He was very, very particular. His home was immaculate,” Carpenter said. Decades later, now Carpenter is the farmer of the land once planted and harvested by Carter. And as such, he approached the Wood County Park District Board on Tuesday about its plans to turn part of the old farm into a wetlands demonstration project. The property has been in the park district’s hands for years, being donated by Everett’s daughter, Sally Loomis. The park district has maintained the farm, house and outbuildings as a historic site for visitors. Carpenter complimented the park district for its efforts. “If Sally Loomis were to pull in the property, she would be very appreciative” of the care given the buildings, and the animals being raised on the site north of Bowling Green, Carpenter said. But he’s not so sure that Loomis would appreciate 20 acres of her former farmland being turned back into wetlands. Carpenter surmised that Loomis would prefer that the acreage continue to be used as productive farmland. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger explained the proposal to revert a portion of the farm back into wetlands would serve two purposes. One is historic. “It would restore it to what it would have been back in the day,” Munger said. The other reason is scientific. The wetlands proposal by the Black Swamp Conservancy would be a demonstration project to study how wetlands can be used to filter out nutrients from farm fields – before those nutrients reach streams and ultimately Lake Erie. Carpenter said he is aware of runoff from farmland causing water quality problems in the region. “I understand about 70 percent of what we put on farms can end up in Lake Erie,” he said. The preliminary proposal calls for the wetlands to be located with a wooded buffer on 20 acres on the far west end of the farm. The acreage involved sits along a ditch that flows into Toussaint Creek. The wetlands would be designed to create wildlife habitat. Munger said his conversations with Loomis led him to believe she would approve of the wetlands project, especially in light of the region’s water quality problems. “She did talk about restoration of some areas,” Munger said. Loomis was a believer in education about farming and the natural history of the county – and donated the farm to the park district for that reason, he said. Carpenter suggested that perhaps the park board could turn the wooded area on the farm into wetlands, rather than the productive farmland. “I struggle…


County Park District seeking comments on programs at open forums in March & April

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Park District welcomes the communities of Wood County to several Community & Parks Open Forums. The Park District is offering many new opportunities for nature and cultural education, and outdoor recreation. Many new features and amenities have been added and will continue to be added in the future to the twenty Nature Preserves and Parks managed by the Wood County Park District. The public is encouraged to visit these open forums to learn about what is new and upcoming, as well as, share opinions with the Park District. Public opinions will help shape the future of the parks. Wednesday, March 14; 5-7  p.m. N Baltimore Public Library 230 N. Main Street, North Baltimore   Thursday, March 15; 7-9 p.m. W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Saturday, March 24; 1-3 p.m. Wood County District Public Library Meeting room 251 N. Main Street, Bowling Green Thursday, March 29; 6-8 p.m. Way Public Library 101 E. Indiana Avenue, Perrysburg Saturday, April 14; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pemberville Public Library 375 E. Front Street, Pemberville Wednesday, April 18; 4-6 p.m. Weston Public Library – Grand Rapids Branch 17620 Bridge St, Grand Rapids, 43522 Thursday, April 19; 5-7 p.m. Walbridge Library 108 N Main St, Walbridge, OH 43465 Tuesday, April 24; 7-9 v Bradner Interpretive Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Light refreshments, good information and great company will be provided. For more information, please visit www.wcparks.org.


County parks are busy places during March

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT Native Bees and Bee Houses Wednesday, March 7; 6:30 – 8:30 pm J.C. Reuthinger Preserve 30370 Oregon Road, Perrysburg Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists Suzanne Nelson and Dean Babcock will present on native bees and how to encourage them to visit your backyard. You will complete your own mason bee house with guidance from the program leaders. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Native American Moccasin Making Workshop Series Tuesdays, March 6, 13, 20, and 27; 6:00 – 9:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green Learn the skill of making authentic Native American moccasins over the course of four sessions. The Plains two-piece style will be featured. Attendance at all sessions is required. Cost: $20; FWCP $15. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, March 8, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder, essays by David Quammen. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   CPR Certification at the Park Saturday, March 10; 8:00 am – noon Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Get certified in adult, child, and infant CPR and AED use and learn choking relief. This American Heart Association course is taught by certified Park District staff. Participants must be 14 years of age. Registration deadline is March 3. Card certification cost: $20. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Community & Parks Open Forum Wednesday, March 14th  5:00 – 7:00 pm N Baltimore Public Library 230 N. Main Street, North Baltimore Learn about the new and exciting opportunities with the Wood County Parks. Your input matters. Share your thoughts with us to help shape the future of the parks. Light refreshments and good company provided. Archery Skills: M-Archery Madness! Friday, March 16; 6:00 – 7:30 pm William Henry Harrison Park 644 Bierley Ave, Pemberville Beginning archers build their skills in this fun and instructional program, where we’ll focus on body posture and aiming, eventually progressing to moving ball targets! All archery equipment provided, personal gear welcome (inspected at program). Must be 7 years of age or older. Cost: $5/$3 FWCP. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Working with Black Swamp Soils Series                          Sundays, March 18, April 22, & May 20; 1:00 – 3:30 pm W.W. Knight Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Working with the soils of the Great Black Swamp can be a challenge. In this workshop series participants will learn how to identify the soils on their property; test soil for various properties and learn how to mitigate some of the challenges. Topics will include soil management, native plants, ways to attract wildlife and sustainability. Sign up for the March 18 session only and plan to attend the April…


Historic farm acreage could be site for wetlands project

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Settlers in the Great Black Swamp worked hard to drain the soil to make fields that would grow crops rather than flood. Now, a group dedicated to conservation may work hard to turn one field back into wetlands. Melanie Coulter, of the Black Swamp Conservancy, presented a proposal on Tuesday to the Wood County Park District. The conservancy is a non-profit land trust with a goal of conserving primarily private and some public lands. Coulter’s proposal to the park district board was to set up a demonstration project on acreage at the Carter Historic Farm, located north of Bowling Green on Carter Road. “It’s a working farm that the public comes to,” she said. So the project could become an example of how wetlands can be used to filter out nutrients from farm fields. The preliminary proposal calls for a series of wetlands with a wooded buffer on 20 acres on the far west end of the farm. The acreage involved sits along a ditch that flows into Toussaint Creek. If grant funding is received, a public meeting would then be held to explain the wetlands project, Coulter told the park board. The wetlands would be designed to create wildlife habitat, she added. The acreage being considered for the wetlands project would be on land currently being used as farmland. The existing wooded area near the field would not be touched and the existing drainage would not be changed. Working on the design of the demonstration project is Hull & Associates. The construction of a wetlands and buffer area would be quite expensive. The preliminary estimate is in the $400,000 range, Coulter said. That amount could be trimmed if the acreage was reduced, she said. Wood County Park District Executive Director Neil Munger said if the project proceeds past the design stage, grant funding would be sought for construction. Since the Toussaint Creek is in the Maumee “area of concern” for waterways and contamination of Lake Erie, the wetlands demonstration project may stand a better chance of receiving funding, Coulter said.


Park district grants pay for playgrounds, picnic tables

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For 30 years, the Wood County Park District has been sharing its levy revenues with local community parks. Towns use the funds for picnic tables, playground equipment and ADA sidewalks to parking lots. This year was no different, with the county park board getting a list Tuesday of the community requests selected for funding by park officials from neighboring counties. Neil Munger, executive director of the Wood County Park District, explained the local grants have been awarded since the passage of the first park district levy in 1988. This year another $100,000 will be handed out to meet the following requests: Bloomdale, $4,157 for picnic tables. Bowling Green, $4,332 to fund features for obstacle course fitness trail. Bradner, $2,479 for playground equipment. Custar, $6,900 for walking path, rain garden and swing bench. Cygnet, $9,011 for playground safety surfacing and ADA sidewalk to parking lot and restrooms. North Baltimore, $14,872 for playground safety surfacing and to replace roofs on shelters. Pemberville, $8,635 to complete shelter house conversion and playground mulch. Perrysburg, $11,949 for sunshades and swing bench. Walbridge, $14,372 for construction of a new basketball court. West Millgrove, $14,988 for playground equipment and safety surfacing. Weston, $8,305 for sunshade. Two park grant requests – one from Luckey and one from Tontogany – did not make the cut. The park district plans to continue its grants to local community parks, but first it must pass its 1-mill renewal levy in May. Board President Denny Parish noted the park district has less than 90 days till the May 8 election. The levy is the “lifeblood of the park system,” Parish said. “I hope the public will continue to support us in May and into the future,” he said. Parish said he has been asked by some local citizens how the park district can project 10 years into the future. “We have five citizen volunteers sitting in chairs as park commissioners who are very aware these are taxpayer funds,” he said. Also at the meeting, the board heard an update on county park projects from Jeff Baney, assistant park district director. Some of the projects with bigger price tags for this year include: $420,000 for the interpretive center at Sawyer Quarry in Perrysburg Township. $125,000 for a parking lot and bridge over a ditch for Baldwin Woods near Weston. $50,000 for new playground equipment at William Henry Harrison Park on the edge of Pemberville. $50,000 for new playground equipment at Otsego Park near Grand Rapids. $13,860 for acoustic treatment of the great room at W.W. Knight Nature Preserve in Perrysburg Township. $12,500 for deck repairs at the W.W. Knight Nature Preserve in Perrysburg Township. Also at the meeting, Chief Ranger Todd Nofzinger talked about the duties of the six full-time rangers. The certified peace officers work…


Park district to maintain solar sanctuary for birds, bees and butterflies

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District has agreed to play a role in a local sanctuary for butterflies, bees and birds. The park board voted unanimously Tuesday to maintain the 13.4-acre “solar sanctuary” planned around the solar field near the corner of Newton and Carter roads, northeast of Bowling Green. The project fits nicely into the mission of the park district, according to Neil Munger, executive director of the district. In exchange for maintaining the site, the park district can use the wildflower sanctuary as an educational tool. “It’s been an ongoing issue around the country – the loss of pollinator habitat,” Munger said. The city of Bowling Green is working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to develop a wildlife and pollinator habitat around the new 165-acre solar field. One goal of the wildlife habitat area is to bring back pollinators to the region. Adult Monarch butterflies have seen a 50 percent drop in the last 10 years due to disappearing milkweed plants  – which are the only plants used by Monarchs for laying eggs. Some wildflower habitats target specific species. The one at Bowling Green’s solar site will be aimed at attracting several species of bees, birds and butterflies. The plan calls for three seasons of blooming plants. The wild habitat area, which will be planted outside the fenced-in solar array, is intended to benefit various pollinators, crops, soil quality, water quality, foraging birds and Monarchs. Ohio is a priority location for Monarchs on their annual trek to Mexico. This region also has many crops that are suffering from inadequate pollination. Crops relying on pollination include tomatoes, blueberries, melons, soybeans, peppers, peaches, cucumbers, squash and apples. Honey bees account for more than $15 billion in agricultural production of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Water and soil quality are also helped by the wildflower habitats because the native plants have deeper root systems and add nitrogen to the soil. The plants also attract insects, which are a food staple for many birds, and provide bird nesting areas in tall grasses. The wildlife habitat will be a team project of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the City of Bowling Green, Next Era Energy, American Municipal Power, and Bowling Green State University. The final partner to sign on was the park district, which will maintain the site and use it as part of its educational programming. Maintenance basically means mowing the site once a year, Munger said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials hope to plant the site this year. In other business at the park district meeting, the board welcomed new members Bill Cameron from North Baltimore, Tom Myers from Perrysburg, and Sandy Wiechman from Bowling Green. The board re-elected Denny Parish as chairman and Bob Hawker as vice chairman. The…