With the arrival of a bit cooler weather, thoughts and activities move fo a focus on fall.

Nowhere is this more keenly felt than in nature parks, where change in foliage and temperatures herald changes for animals as well.

The Crawford Park District is celebrating this change by offering many interesting seasonal programs as this transition period continues. Here are activities scheduled at nearby Lowe-Volk Park and elsewhere in Crawford County over the next two weeks:

Caterpillar Hunt Friday

September 9 at 8 PM – Lowe-Volk Park – Late summer is peak time for finding caterpillars, and many of them glow under ultraviolet light at night! Join Naturalist Chelsea to learn about the fascinating world of caterpillars. When darkness falls, we will use UV lights and flashlights to search for caterpillars and other nocturnally active creatures in our park. We’ll also have a mothing sheet up to see which magnificent moths are flying. Fun for all ages!

Mysterious Galls

September 10 at 2 PM – Unger Park – Plant galls come in all shapes, sizes, and colors—you may even have some growing on your trees or flowers! Join gall expert Timothy Frey for a hike through Unger’s prairie and along the woods to search for galls. We’ll learn about the fascinating life cycles of the insects and other organisms that cause them to form as well as some basic gall identification. Tim has a PhD in plant pathology from the Ohio State University, where he studied gall-forming nematodes. Galls are his passion, and he travels around the state documenting their presence and abundance. Tim is also an administrator for a great new gall resource, gallformers.org, where he and his colleagues are working to compile a comprehensive database and identification tool for gall-forming organisms in the United States and Canada. For more information about galls, see the article in this newsletter on page 10.

Little Explorers: Bugs

September 12 at 5 PM – Lowe-Volk Park – Little Explorers is an interactive program for young children, ages 0-5. Activities focus on stimulating infants’ senses and engaging toddlers’ fine motor skills. This month we’ll explore insects and other invertebrates at different stages of their life cycles! Please dress for the weather. Marvelous Milkweed Wednesday, September 14 5pm Lowe-Volk Park Though milkweed contains compounds that are toxic to most herbivores, several insects (including the endangered Monarch) only eat milkweed, shunning other plants. Join Naturalist Chelsea for an interactive program to learn about these milkweed specialists. Seeds of several species, including Butterfly Weed and Purple Milkweed, will be available to take home for planting. We will also help Kansas University with Monarch research by attempting to capture, tag, and release Monarch butterflies! 

Fall Migration Bird Banding

September 16 from 8 AM to Noon – Sandusky Headwaters – Bander Bob Placier will bring his mist nets to see which birds might be passing through Sandusky Headwaters Preserve on their journey southward. Join Bob and CPD staff for a fun morning learning about our migratory birds. Stop by for a little bit or stay for the duration of the program. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush! Birding: Fall Migration Saturday, September 17 8am Lowe-Volk Park Autumn is gearing up and fall migration is in full swing! Join Land Manager and Naturalist Kyle Bailey for an interactive, familyfriendly program suitable for all ages. This program will focus on birding basics such as learning how to identify common Ohio species, when and where to bird, how to bird, what to look for, and much more! Species we are likely to encounter include warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, sparrows, and more! Some binoculars will be available first come, first served.

Stewardship: Woody Invasive Species

September 17 at 11 AM – Sandusky Headwaters – Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty while contributing to preserving our native habitats? Then come out and assist Land Manager Kyle Bailey with removing unwanted woody species. We will begin with a brief introduction about stewardship and our target species before heading out into the field. Closedtoe shoes are required; long sleeves and pants are suggested. There is a possibility of contact with Poison Ivy. Dress for the weather. Some gloves and loppers will be available.

Spectacular Spiders

September 17 at 2 PM – Lowe-Volk Park – Spiders are beneficial garden predators that help keep pest insect numbers down. Often misunderstood and underappreciated, this program aims to dispel common myths about spiders. We’ll also explore the diversity in size, shape, color, and overall appearance of these amazing creatures. Join Land Manager and Naturalist Kyle Bailey as we explore Lowe-Volk Park in search of our eight-legged friends. Photography is welcome and encouraged.

Seed Collection

September 18 at 1 PM – Unger Park Come out to Unger Park for our second annual Prairie Seed Collection event. Seed collection aids the CPD in creating new prairies or bolstering plant populations in established prairies. Land Manager Kyle Bailey will assist you with plant and seed identification. Paper bags to collect seeds, hand pruners, and some gloves will be provided. Participants will get to take some seeds home to establish their own native prairie garden.

Prairie Wildflowers

September 18 at 3 PM – Salem Prairie The tall-grass prairies of Ohio are renowned for their late summer displays of wildflowers. The Salem Prairie is a restoration project that is in its 15th year, and it is now one of the best prairies in northern Ohio. Meet Warren Uxley at Salem Cemetery on Lower Leesville Road, just east of Parcher Road.

Archery Monday

September 19 from 5 to 7 PM –  Lowe-Volk Park – Whether for sport, food, or fun, archery is a great outdoor activity that gets us away from the gadgets of life, allowing us to focus on one thing: hitting the target. Join us for an archery shoot that will include an introduction to archery safety and shooting basics. All equipment will be provided. Please call the Park District at 419-683-9000 to register. 

Monarch Tagging

September 21 at 5 PM – Buckeye Central Outdoor Learning Lab – Learn about the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, its need for milkweed plants, and their amazing migration to Mexico. You will have an opportunity to help Kansas University with Monarch migration and population research by attempting to capture, tag, and release Monarch butterflies. All ages welcome. Nets will be provided

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