Youth Conservation Corps – Week 2 Roundup

Week 2 of the Youth Conservation Corps is complete! We had a fun-filled learning experience, packed with adventures in Wildwood Metropark, Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve, and Kitty Todd Nature Preserve.

20140624_113311On Tuesday we took a geology field trip at Wildwood Metropark with Dr. Timothy Fisher of the University of Toledo.

20140625_104837Ryan Schroeder, the local district preserve manager of the Ohio Natural Resources Department, gave us an exciting tour of Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve on Wednesday.

20140625_105126We found all sorts of interesting critters in the water at Irwin Prairie, including crayfish, tadpoles, and snails!

20140626_100622We visited Kitty Todd Nature Preserve on Thursday. Ryan Gauger of the Nature Conservancy gave us a great trek through the savanna and prairie at the preserve and showed us several rare plants!
20140626_095739 We learned a lot about the role of fire in the Oak Openings. The kids also got to see what kind of safety gear practitioners of prescribed fire wear on the job.20140626_110950After the nature walk with Ryan, we worked hard to clear away encroaching woody plants on the preserve.

This year’s program is already halfway complete! We are striving to get kids interested in nature by immersing them in our local natural areas and creating positive, memorable experiences for them. Through hands-on activities and instructive lessons, we hope to make the Oak Openings region a more meaningful place to our youth.

Youth Conservation Corps – Week 1 Complete!

The Olander Park System’s Youth Conservation Corps is underway! This program runs for 4 weeks from June 17th to July 10th. It aims to teach middle school children about environmental conservation and increase their awareness of the Oak Openings Region. Here are some photos from the first week of activities. More to come!

Learning how to prepare and plant a native bed at Olander Park

On Tuesday we learned how to prepare and plant a native bed at Olander Park.

On Tuesday we thinned encroaching plants around newly planted saplings!

On Wednesday we thinned encroaching plants around newly planted saplings at Sylvan Prairie!

On Thursday we planted native plants at Pacesetter Park

On Thursday we planted native plants at Pacesetter Park…

On Thursday we also rescued native plants from a property that is likely to undergo development.

And also rescued native plants from a property that is likely to undergo development.

Next to come: Adventures during Week 2!

Volunteer Work Day this Sunday

Looking for a way to make a difference in the community? Join us to restore wildlife habitat in Sylvania this Sunday March 30 from 9am to noon.

We’ll be working at the Southview Oak Savanna, removing leaves to make the sandy soil better able to support the rare plants that like sunny, sandy spots in the Oak Openings Region.

Wear long pants and bring gloves if you have them. Meet at Olander Park’s Maintenance Building at 9am Sunday. Volunteers will need transportation to and from the worksite.

Mel SylvaniaOakSavanna

The Ice on Lake Olander is OPEN for your use

The colder temperatures have made the ice stable again. Green flags are flying now, indicating that the ice is thick enough for ice fishing and skating. But check to make sure the red flags (indicating unsafe ice) aren’t up before you go on the ice.

Rules for using the Ice on Lake Olander

Rules of the Ice

Winter Wonderland and Ice Update

We have finally gotten our trails and roads cleared thanks to the dedicated staff at TOPS!  The Parks are open and ready for you to enjoy, but dress well and stay warm! It’s still cold out there.

We have had a lot of questions about whether the ice is open yet for fishing.  As you may know, we test the ice to make sure it is at least 8 inches thick before we open it for skating or fishing and then fly the green flag when it’s ready.  With the snow removal, we haven’t had a chance to test it, and there is still an open spot on the west side so the red flags remain in place.  The ducks and geese seem determined to stick around despite the cold.  We will post here again when and if the ice does open, so keep checking!

Holiday Hours


Olander Park will be CLOSED on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and will only be open 7am to noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

On all of those days, the Quarry Ridge Bike Trail, Sylvan Prairie Park and Fossil Park will be open from sunrise to sunset. However, the south (back) parking lot at Sylvan Prairie and the bathroom at Fossil Park will be CLOSED all of those days. Note that the fossil piles at Fossil Park are closed until spring.

Restoration Experiment

Did you know that TOPS owns a 7-acre parcel where Herr Road crosses Ten Mile Creek?


Vernal Pool at TOPS Herr Road property

Currently, the Herr Road property contains floodplain forest, a vernal pool and some old turf areas. But the old turf area has stopped looking like a yard … over the past several years, some cool native plants started just growing up in the turf. We’re going to help that area change back into native wildlife habitat by removing the turf that’s left and helping native plants grow in its place.

We’re going to do a habitat restoration experiment there. We’re trying two methods of turf removal … scraping the turf off with a loader and spraying the turf with herbicide. Then, we’re going to sow native seeds in half of the scraped areas and half of the sprayed areas. In the other half of the scraped and sprayed areas, we’re going to see what plants grow up from the seed bank … like those natives that already grew through the turf all on their own.

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Scraping the turf off

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