COLUMBUS, OH – As we head toward the beginning of March, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering several free events for friends and family to enjoy! Take advantage of seeing some of Ohio’s beautiful natural resources up close and personal this month through winter hikes, maple syrup festivals and animal programs.
Full Moon Hike at Lake Hope State Park – Begin a healthy new year on Thursday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Hope State Park by taking a 3-mile hike illuminated by the moon. Bring a flashlight, dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. Meet at the shelterhouse. For more information, call 740-596-4938.
Tour the Tackle Box at Lake Hope State Park – Want to catch that big fish but are confused or a little intimidated at the bait shop? Join ODNR staff as we discuss types of line, bait and tackle at Lake Hope State Park on Friday, March 2, at 6 p.m. Practice tying knots and learn a little about some of Ohio’s common sport fish species. After this workshop, individuals will be prepared for the fishing season. Register to be entered to win a tackle box (must be present to win). Call the nature center at 740-596-3030 to register or for more information.
Night Hike at Wingfoot Lake State Park – Join the naturalist for a walk through the park at night to see what critters are stirring after sunset on Saturday, March 3, at 8 p.m. Bring a flashlight and a sense of adventure! Meet at the Boat Marina Parking Lot.
Animal Clues at Lake Hope State Park – Join the naturalist at the nature center at Lake Hope State Park on Saturday, March 3, at 11 a.m. for hints on how to find animals in the park, then go on a short walk nearby to test out your skills. Dress for the weather. For more information, call 740-596-4938.
Maple Syrup Festival at Hueston Woods State Park – Hueston Woods State Park will host its 52nd annual Maple Syrup Festival the weekends of March 3-4 and March 10-11 from 12-4 p.m. A pancake breakfast, with locally made syrup, will be available at the park lodge on those days from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Throughout the weekend, concessions will be made available by the Friends of Hueston Woods and the Museum Association. Visitors can go on maple syrup tours, hay rides and hikes through the Hueston Woods State Nature Preserve. The nature center will also be open during this time. For more information, call 513-523-6347.
Nature Nook at Shawnee State Park – Visit with a naturalist at Shawnee State Park and learn more about our native wildlife and fun things to do in the area. We will also have live animals to observe. Meet upstairs in the lodge from 12-2 p.m. on Saturdays in March (March 3, 10, 17 and 24). For more information, call 740-858-6652.
Maple Syrup Festival at Malabar Farm State Park – Visit Malabar Farm State Park to experience their maple syrup festival, with a sugar camp and live historical demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides, music, food and maple products for sale (cash recommended). The festival will be held on March 3-4 and March 10-11 from 12-4 p.m. For more information, call 419-892-2784.
Nature Night at Maumee Bay State Park – Ever wonder what animals roamed the wilds of Ohio? Or lurked in the Great Black Swamp? Swing by the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park each Saturday in March at 4:30 p.m. to find out, and see some skins, skulls and snakes! For more information, call 419-836-7758.
‘Timberdoodling’ at Burr Oak State Park – Ever heard of a timberdoodle? Bog sucker and whistling snipe are two additional names for the woodcock, a bird which performs a sunset dance to attract a mate. Join us on Saturday, March 3, at 6 p.m. at Burr Oak State Park as we search the meadows and evening sky for this unusual performer. Meet at the lodge, and then we will carpool to the site. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
Night Hike at Wingfoot Lake State Park – Join the naturalist at Wingfoot Lake State Park for a walk through the park at night to see what critters are stirring after sunset. People should bring a flashlight and a sense of adventure! Meet at the boat marina parking lot on Saturday, March 3, at 8 p.m. For more information, call 330-628-4720.
Beekeeping Symposium at Caesar Creek State Park – Interested in learning more about beekeeping? Look no further than the Beekeeping Symposium at Caesar Creek State Park on Sunday, March 4, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.! The morning session will be from 10-11:30 a.m., followed by a potluck lunch from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and then the afternoon session from 12:30-4 p.m. Sessions include topics such as basics of beekeeping and getting started, how to build and repair your own beehive box, swarm catching, small hive beetle, year-round trees and flowers and more. This event is free and open to the public so no registration is required. All speakers and vendors for this event are local. There will also be a kids corner for little beekeepers with games and learning activities. This event is sponsored by the Southwest Girls Beekeeping Club and Caesar Creek State Park. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mammals of Ohio at Burr Oak State Park – Join the naturalist at Burr Oak State Park for a close-up look at common Ohio mammals by examining their skins and skulls on Friday, March 9, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. This will be held in the lodge lobby. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
Maple Syrup Festival at Hocking Hills State Park – Join us at Hocking Hills State Park at the naturalist cabin at the Old Man’s Cave area on March 10-11 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. for the maple syrup festival. Free tours around the naturalist cabin will be taking place from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Naturalists will demonstrate methods to make maple syrup and maple candy, and delicious samples will be available. For more information, call 740-385-6842.
To learn more about family-friendly events at Ohio’s state parks and state nature preserves, go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/calendar or naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/calendar.
Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. The Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process. Participants can log their miles, share their photos and create friends groups on the Explore Ohio website at ExploreOh.com. Whether people are running, hiking, biking, climbing, walking or paddling, Ohioans can keep track of their progress at ExploreOh.com and share their adventures on social media using #ExploreOhio. After reaching 100 combined miles of activity on the site, each registered user will receive an email with a certificate good for 15 percent off camping at any Ohio State Park.