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GOOSE-ATTACK1Nesting season has begun at Olander Park and with that encounters between geese and humans is increased. Nesting time is a very important time for all kinds of birds, instinct drives them to reproduce and raise their young, just like all animals do. The issue with geese, as with all animals including humans, is that they are driven to protect the area around their young.

Interactions between geese and people increase in the spring especially in parks and public areas. Most of the time these interactions are peaceful, but when fed by people geese lose their natural fear of people. This often leads to more goose attacks in the spring.

skunk cabbage


Description: Skunk cabbage is a flowering perennial plant that is one of the first plants to emerge in the spring. The flowers appear before the leaves and are characterized by a mottled maroon hood-like bract called a spathe, which surrounds a knob-like structure called a spadix. The spadix is actually a fleshy spike of many, petal-less flowers. As the flowers mature, the spathe opens more to allow pollinators such as flies and carrion beetles to enter and pollinate the flowers.

Predation: Most animals avoid skunk cabbage because it causes a burning sensation when eaten, but bears will eat young plants in the spring. American Indians have used it as a medicinal treatment for coughs and headaches. For a time in the 1800s it was sold as the drug dracontium to treat a variety of ailments.


American Beaver


The American beaver is North Americas largest rodent. Their fur is typically reddish brown in color and very dense. They have a  large flat scaly tail that they use like a rudder in the water. Their back feet are webbed to help propel them thru the water.  Beavers are mainly active at night and are excellent swimmers. They construct their lodges out of twigs and sticks and mud at the edge of ponds. Beavers have one litter of 2-3 kits per year. Offspring will stay with the family for up to 3 years before moving out on their own.

The Olander  conservation crew discovered a beaver lodge at Sylvan Prairie Park late last summer! Much to our surprise! We noticed several trees around a pond in the park that had been felled. Several staff members have seen the beaver swimming in the pond carrying large branches and eventually they discovered the lodge. Go to this website to see videos;

Ice Fishing on Lake Olander

Lake Olander is now safe to use for ice fishing, ice skating, hockey and just having fun on ice!

Ice Fishing Hut

Ice Fishing Hut

We do not open the Lake for ice activities until the ice on the entire lake is at least 8 inches thick. With a 30-acre lake, it takes several weeks of below freezing temperatures before all areas of the lake have ice that thick.

There is currently one small area on the lake that is not safe, and we have marked that area with orange fencing. There is open water and extremely thin ice inside the orange fence. Our feathered friends, Canada Geese, Mallards, and American Coots, appreciate having some open water to use in the winter. But it is dangerous for us humans.  So stay well away from the orange fence.

Sunfish Caught Ice Fishing

Danielle DiMartini catching a Sunfish through the ice at Lake Olander

Ice Fishing is a popular past time in this part of the world. Here at Lake Olander, the fish are biting. The first day that ice activities were allowed on the lake, Sam Eldridge, an avid ice fisherman and seasonal Olander employee, caught bluegill, largemouth bass, perch and a sunfish. You can also catch an occasional catfish or crappie through the ice here.

Despite all the snow we had earlier this month, the ice on Lake Olander is quite smooth. Ice skaters have made an appearance this afternoon, and the skating looks good!

While you’re here enjoying the lovely winter landscape, remember that Olander Park closes at 6pm in February…which is before it gets dark. Please help our employees out by making sure you’re off the ice and out of the park by 6pm.

So come enjoy the ice here at Olander Park!  But stay safe by paying attention to the orange fence and dressing warmly. It’s going to be COLD this weekend!

Olander Lake On Ice

Olander Lake On Ice



Ohio Young Birders Club Field Trip


Birding from Kayak

Birding from Kayak

The Ohio Young Birders Club (OYBC) is a program developed by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory to encourage, educate, and empower our youth conservation leaders. There are regional chapters of the OYBC, including one here in Northwest Ohio, started and led by TOPS own Robin Parker and Patty Toneff from Woodlawn Cemetery and Arboretum. Each month student members participate in field trips to exciting places in Ohio and in service projects focused on habitat restoration and other cool projects like creating bird feeding areas. 

OYBC field trips are open to all OYBC student members. To find out more about OYBC and how to join, visit the OYBC Website.

AUGUST 2014 Field Trip

Shorebirds Galore!
Saturday, August 16th
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Winous Point Marsh
(3500 S Lattimore Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452)

Winous Point is one of the nation’s oldest hunt clubs. This private club is managed for all types of wildlife. We got special permission to visit Winous Point to look for shorebirds and see lots of other marsh wildlife! 

Please wear sturdy shoes and bring a packed lunch, water, snacks, bug spray, sunscreen, and bincos!

If you have any questions, please contact Kate Zimmerman at

*Hosted by the Northwest, Northeast, Central, and Holmes County OYBC Chapters.


2014-07-15_08-58-56_79Observed this unusual paring at the oak savanna behind Sylvania Southview H.S.

We thought it was a large bird dropping but a closer look revealed two moths,  we think,  mating. When we would lightly touch them they would flutter their wings.

Looking thru photos on the web I came across a blog that had a similar looking moth-a Buck moth. Not sure if this is what we saw???

Sylvan Prairie In Bloom

Our largest park, Sylvan Prairie Park, is full of native wildflowers in bloom!

Greyheaded Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susan, Bergamot

Grey-headed Coneflower, Black-Eyed Susan, Bergamot

Get an up-close view of these beauties by biking, walking or rollerblading on the 3-mile section of the Quarry Ridge Bike Trail that loops through the park.

Sylvan Prairie Park’s parking lots are located at 8601 Brint Road.  More info about Sylvan Priarie :

Native wildflowers you can see blooming there right now include:

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Brown-eyed Susan
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Common Milkweed
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Dogbane
  • Grey-headed Coneflower
    Grey-headed Coneflower

    Grey-headed Coneflower

  • Obedient Plant
  • Spiderwort
  • Virginia Mountain Mint
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Whorled Rosinweed
  • Oxeye Sunflower
  • Sawtooth Sunflower
  • Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon)
  • Monkey Flower
  • Bushclover
  • Smooth Hedge Nettle
  • Blue Vervain
  • Hoary Vervain
  • White Vervain
  • Ground Cherries
  • Heal All

Youth Conservation Corps – Week 4 Summary

The fourth and final week of the Olander Youth Conservation Corps is complete! This last week has been packed with great activities that will be sure to leave lasting memories in the minds of all involved. Here’s a peek at what we did this week:


On Tuesday we learned how to sample fish in Tenmile Creek at Harroun Community Park!


Dr. Todd Crail of the University of Toledo visited and told us about the great diversity of fish that can be found in our local streams and rivers.


On Wednesday, Pat O’Brien, the superintendent of the Sylvania Parks, visited us and introduced us to the management that has been going on at Harroun Community Park over the past few years.


Afterwards, we cleared woody species at the park! We really worked hard and made a big impact on the woody plants that have been growing more dense every year.


On Thursday, our final day, we had a blast learning about beekeeping from Mr. Bill Buri, a Maumee resident.


Mr. Buri showed us his three colonies of bees while teaching us about the importance of pollinators. Several of the kids got to dress in beekeeper’s protective gear!


We finished our final day hunting for fossils at Olander’s Fossil Park. We found several fossils, including coral and brachiopods!

This marks the end of the first Olander Youth Conservation Corps. We have all had a great time working with these children this year, and they have been dedicated to learning about nature conservation. We hope that this program will touch more lives in the future and that those who participate have positive experiences that create conscientious and responsible individuals. On behalf of the entire Olander Youth Conservation Corps: Thank You!


See you next year!