Restore Our Earth – Be a Metroparks Volunteer!
You may remember last spring, when the world was shut down at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The birds sounded louder and sweeter, our plants and flowers were a bit more vibrant, and you heard stories of animals wandering the streets of our cities. Even in the worst of times, our environment can be renewed, given the chance. How would you like to help give nature a chance here in northwest Ohio?
We are so fortunate to live amid one of the most diverse ecologies on the planet. Because of our location near Lake Erie, we must do everything we can to improve the quality of the waterways (lakes, rivers and streams) that empty into our Great Lakes.
Metroparks Toledo maintains and restores environments, particularly wetlands, along our lakes and rivers, part of its overall commitment to improving air and water quality throughout the region. Replacing invasive species with natives, restoring land to natural habitats and preparing areas for the return of native wildlife are among the many projects in which volunteers can participate.
There are so many things you can do to help:
- Stewardship – Participate in restoration projects, including removal of invasive plants, gathering prairie seed and planting trees.
- Wildlife monitoring programs – Survey and record signs of hawks, owls and other raptors in the Oak Openings Region. Locate and identify butterfly species around the region. Monitor nesting boxes to keep tabs on our cavity nesting bird populations. Take a nighttime count of breeding frog and toad species by hearing their calls. Or learn to use the Anabat to hear and record bat echolocation around the Metroparks.
- Plant Monitoring – Assist with locating, identifying, measuring and counting rare plant species around the Metroparks, and participate in efforts to protect these species and their habitats.
- Water Quality Monitoring – Assist our staff in conducting biological water monitoring in our area’s streams and rivers.
- Reforestation – Help us with tree planting and protection. Metroparks uses a 5 ft. tall tree shelter that provides protection against animals and weather, has an herbicide guard for easy treatments, and allows the tree to shed it as it grows. Developed in the U.K., the shelter has a life expectancy of 5-7 years.
The theme for this year’s Earth Day (on April 22) was “Restore Our Earth.” It’s Earth Day every day here at the Metroparks. The restoration work we and our volunteers do here every day helps assure that these beautiful spaces will be here for generations in the future. And our world will thank us all for that!