Metroparks actively works to preserve the best examples of northwest Ohio’s natural areas for public enjoyment. Protecting forests, grasslands, rivers, and wetlands, promoting sustainable use, is the most important work that we do.
Being in such close proximity to Lake Erie, northwest Ohio residents are concerned about water quality – and rightly so. However, Metroparks Toledo’s greatest opportunities for improving water quality don’t lie in Lake Erie, but on the many lakes, rivers and waterways that speckle our region.
Invasive species removal along banks at Neis Ditch, the rerouting of Blue Creek, the restoration of a former agricultural space to a stream in Cannonball Prairie, and preserving the banks of the Maumee are all ways Metroparks Toledo is turning the tides for water quality in the region. Thanks to projects like Howard Marsh and Middlegrounds, in addition to work through the Blue Creek Native Nursery, native species are returning to the area in droves, and the region becomes a healthier place to live – both for your peace of mind and for your drinking supply – with every non-native plant replaced with a native one.
Metroparks is taking an active role in restoring air quality. Fortunately, planting natives and supporting local wildlife, which Metroparks Toledo initiatives do, improves air quality as well.
It’s a natural progression: As your water and earth become cleaner, so does the air. Metroparks Toledo’s commitment to planting only native plant species and removing invasive and non-native species like pine trees and honeysuckle encourages a healthier circle of life. Air quality is part of that circle.
Habitat loss, either due to invasive species taking over or because of human intervention, is a major concern here at Metroparks Toledo. But the destruction of animals’ homes isn’t the only concern; it’s also important to think about habitat fragmentation.
Think about it this way: it’s better to have one 1,000-acre patch of a habitat than to have 1,000 one-acre patches of land. By providing species with an interconnected, open space, we enable those species to thrive, living as normal lives and as free from human impact as possible.
Here in northwest Ohio, our home is a hub of biodiversity. In order to sustain and encourage the growth of that biodiversity, Metroparks associates and our partners frequently conduct research and stay ahead of ecological changes in the region. That research supports our mission to protect and understand at-risk species, and encourages widespread education of our environment.
*Permits are required when conducting research on Metroparks property. To request an application, please email Karen Menard at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (419) 407-9705. For more information, visit our research permits page.
Northwest Ohio is a destination for birders. Our parks are a major part of the Lake Erie Birding Trail, home to more than 600 species of birds. Dozens of species of birds can be seen throughout the Metroparks, and vary depending on the season, type of day and where in each park you’re walking. Whether you’re searching near the water for little blue herons or high in the trees for pileated woodpeckers, don’t forget to bring along the Metroparks Bird Checklist.
Interested in more birding opportunities? Visit one of Metroparks Toledo’s many Windows on Wildlife mini nature centers, where you can sit inside during park hours and enjoy watching, feeding and interacting with gorgeous native birds up close and personal.
You’ve likely heard of turtle doves, but have you heard of turtle dogs?
As the native box turtle’s population declines, Metroparks Toledo has taken a keen interest in maintaining healthy numbers and protecting box turtle habitats. Local conservationally minded dogs, too, are trained to keep the region’s box turtles safe and plentiful. Part of a long-term study to better understand what’s causing box turtle population decline, turtle dogs are important members of the Metroparks Toledo team.
Around the world, honeybee populations are waning. While factors associated with honeybee decline, like pesticide use, colony collapse disorder and the invasive mite varroa, can be difficult to combat, it’s of utmost importance that the honeybees are protected and remain strong. After all, certain crops are up to 90 percent reliant upon honeybees to spread their pollen, and without the bees, crops won’t grow abundantly enough to sustain human populations as they exist.
One of the simplest ways to support local wild honeybees is to plant native pollinators in your garden. Species like milkweed, clover and goldenrod are great, bee-friendly choices. You can also do your part in helping the honeybees by cutting down pesticide use. If you do need pesticides, try to use them only at night, when bees aren’t flying.
Since 2003, Metroparks has put intentional emphasis on protecting northwest Ohio by increasing its holdings. Today, Metroparks maintains more than 12,000 acres throughout the region. Once new land is acquired, Metroparks employees and volunteers set to work to restore what once lived there. Replacing invasive species with native plants, implementing prescribed burns and managing wildlife begins.