Tax deductible contributions to the Green Ribbon Initiative will be used to support education and stewardship work in the Oak Openings Region.
Each May, the partners of the Green Ribbon Initiative assemble a wide array of programs to encourage people to get out into the amazing region that we have right here in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. This globally unique region is home to a wide variety of plants and animals such as wild blue lupine, Karner blue butterflies, blue spotted salamanders, big and little bluestem, blueberries, bluebirds, blue racers and much, much more. The programs offered each year are assembled to encourage people to get out and explore the region and inform them of how diverse and important the region is.
Monday, May 10th
12:00 p.m. I-Naturalist with The Nature Conservancy VIRTUAL
Nature Conservancy staff will guide participants through the ins and outs of the iNaturalist application and how it can help you build your knowledge while exploring nature. iNaturalist provides a place to record and organize nature findings, meet other nature enthusiasts, and learn about the natural world. At the end of the presentation, there is an open invitation to join a small Bioblitz and get experience with using the application and sharing observations. REGISTER HERE
5 – 7 p.m. Rain Barrel Workshop BLUE CREEK CONSERVATION AREA
The Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District and the Rain Garden Initiative will host a make-and-take rain barrel workshop outside the white barn at Blue Creek Conservation Area, 7790 Schadel Rd, Whitehouse, OH. The fee is $35 per barrel and all tools and needed parts are supplied; pre-pay and sign-up for a half-hour workshop time between 5 and 7 pm REGISTER HERE
Tuesday, May 11th
10 a.m. Blue Week with Wood County BRADNER PRESERVE
Celebrate the Oak Openings Region Blue Week with Wood County Parks! We’ll visit locations at Bradner Preserve and learn about its connection to the Oak Openings Region. REGISTER
4-6 p.m. Innovations in Wetland Restoration KITTY TODD NATURE PRESERVE
Tour the less visited portions of the 1,300-acre Kitty Todd Nature Preserve to learn about the ways The Nature Conservancy is restoring wetlands in the Oak Openings Region. Participants will begin their journey at Salamander Flats Trail head at the corner of Whitehouse Spencer Rd. and Garden Rd. where they will receive a map and driving route to visit an additional four points of interest at their leisure. Staff will be stationed along the way to talk about wetland projects and answer questions.
7:00 p.m. Native Plants and Vegetable Gardening VIRTUAL
A Wild Ones Oak Openings Chapter presentation by Hal Mann will show you why and how to use native plants around your vegetable garden to increase the yields and health of your harvest. You’ll also learn about attracting beneficial insects to deter pests and eliminate the toxic usage of pesticides. Discover bonus benefits of using native plants in your garden. REGISTER HERE
Wednesday, May 12th
10:00 a.m. Lupine at the Metroparks OAK OPENINGS PRESERVE METROPARK LODGE
Wild Blue Lupine is one of the signature species of the Oak Openings Region. Take a naturalist led walk with Metroparks Toledo staff and enjoy this beautiful plant that is state listed in Ohio as a potentially threatened species. REGISTERE HERE
12 -1 p.m History of the Oak Openings VIRTUAL
Join Dr. Pete Blank, Oak Openings Restoration Manager, for an overview of the history of the Oak Openings Region, its geology and ecology, and the early naturalists that helped us better understand the region. REGISTER HERE
5 – 6 p.m. Floodplain Health for Landowners EPWORTH CHURCH
Floodplains are crucial to healthy stream ecosystems because they provide vital services including water quality protection, stream and bank stabilization, wildlife habitat, and flood reduction. Many residents in the Oak Openings live with this important habitat in their backyard. Join Ottawa Hills residents and the Nature Conservancy to tour a 15-acre restoration site and learn what steps you can take to improve your floodplain habitat. REGISTER HERE
7:00 p.m. Richness and Rarity Book Discussion VIRTUAL
Join Elliot Tramer, author of Richness and Rarity: The Natural History of Lucas County for a moderated discussion of the book, especially as it relates to the Oak Openings Region. The program may include contributors to the book as part of the discussion. Wood County Parks program coordinator Jim Witter will be the discussion facilitator. REGISTER HERE
Thursday, May 13th
10:00 a.m. All Things Blue OAK OPENINGS PRESERVE METROPARK LODGE
Discover all things blue! We will look for Wild Blue Lupine, Blue Jays, Blue Birds, Blue Racer snakes and more. REGISTERE HERE
11:30 a.m. Family Fun with Butterflies and Moths VIRTUAL
During this interactive presentation, explore the butterflies and moths of the Oak Openings with the Detroit Zoological Society through backyard science, literacy, math, geography, and art to engage students, families, and teachers with the wonderful world of butterflies and moths. Let these things with wings inspire outdoor learning and fun in your backyard or school grounds! REGISTER
5:00 p.m. Wetland Wildlife at Irwin IRWIN PRAIRIE STATE NATURE PRESERVE
Considered the finest remaining sedge meadow in the state, Irwin Prairie is a mosaic of distinctive plant communities. Join Preserve staff as we search for the unusual plants and animals residing in the wetlands. REGISTER HERE
7:00 p.m. Biological Calendars, Plant Phenology and Growing Degree Days VIRTUAL
Have you ever wanted to plan a party around the blooming natives in your yard? Amy Stone with the Ohio State University Extension office shares information about growing degree day accumulations, plant phenology and what are the factors that determine when plants bloom, and the science behind biological calendars and how each have applications in our landscapes and the environment that we live in. Participants will learn about each topic and have an understanding how they can use all three things in their garden, landscape, or while they are out in nature. REGISTER HERE
Friday, May 14th
7:30-9 a.m. Birds of the Lakeplain Prairie (Part 1) SIBLEY PRAIRIE, WEST ROAD PRAIRIE
Lakeplain wet prairie is attractive to uncommon breeding birds as well as a variety of migrants, yet less than 1% of these unique communities remain. Join Dr. Pete Blank, the Nature Conservancy’s Oak Openings Restoration Manager, in this two part series to look for lakeplain prairie breeding and migrating birds and to learn how Green Ribbon Initiative partners are working protect and restore the existing gems. Part I explores Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy’s West Road Prairie. We’ll be looking for warblers, tanagers, vireos, sparrows, wrens, and much more. Bring binoculars and a bird guide if you have them. Be prepared to walk on dirt trails and bring insect repellent, if desired. Limit 10 participants. REGISTER
5 – 8 p.m. Hike and Bike the Oak Openings WIREGRASS METROPARK
Experience the Oak Openings on foot and on wheels. Begin your journey at Wiregrass Metropark with a naturalist led hike (Participants register for 5pm, 6pm, or 7pm start time). Continue exploring the area with a self-paced bike ride along the Mosley trail, a two mile (one way) crushed gravel trail that ends at Secor Metropark. Along the way you will pass the Irwin Prairie, a State Nature Preserve, one of the finest remaining sedge meadows in the State (please, no bikes on the boardwalk. Foot traffic only!). Registration is not required for the bike ride. Make it to Secor and pick up a commemorative water bottle! REGISTERE HERE
8:45 p.m. Acoustic Bat Monitoring SECOR METROPARK
Have you ever wondered what the ultrasonic echolocation calls of bats sound like? Join Bowling Green State University graduate student and researcher Kelly Russo Petrick for a short walk with her AnaBat monitor to listen for and learn about these night fliers. REGISTER HERE
Saturday, May 15th
8 – 10 a.m. Birds of the Lakeplain Prairie (Part II) CROSSWINDS MARSH
Part II. Join Dr. Pete Blank, the Nature Conservancy’s Oak Openings Restoration Manager, to look and listen for migratory birds winging their way north and learn how TNC’s restoration is making Crosswinds Marsh a better stopover for their journey. We’ll be looking for warblers, tanagers, vireos, sparrows, wrens, and much more. Bring binoculars and a bird guide if you have them. Be prepared to walk on dirt trails and bring insect repellent, if desired. Limit 10 participants. REGISTER
10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Exploring the Globally Rare KITTY TODD PRESERVE
The Oak Openings Region has five globally rare plant communities, all of which are represented at Kitty Todd Preserve. Explore the self-guided trail at your own pace. You will meet representatives of the Oak Openings Region Conservancy along the way, who will give you a brief overview of each community and the plants and wildlife it supports.
10 a.m. Native Gardening with The Nature Conservancy VIRTUAL
Home gardens can be one of the most rewarding and beneficial projects for communities and wildlife. From increasing pollinator habitat, helping to slow down and filter rainwater, and the occasional fruit and vegetable harvest- gardens can have it all! REGISTER to learn about some of the ways you can make a stellar garden at home!
3 – 5 p.m. Garlic Mustard Pull Volunteer Event RIVER RAISIN NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK
Garlic mustard is changing woodland habitats for plants and animals alike. Spend the afternoon outdoors helping the River Raisin Institute this invasive plant species. It’s easy to pull and active fun for the whole family. REGISTER HERE
7:30 p.m. Frogtastic Night! SECOR METROPARK
A Frogtastic Night of Family Fun at Secor Metropark! We’ll learn everything you need to know about the frogs and toads that call the Oak Openings region home. Kids will have a chance to participate in a frog lifecycle game for prizes, while adults can put their new frog call knowledge to the test in the field. REGISTER HERE
Sunday, May 16th
9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Bow For Blue Week TOMAHAWK ARCHERS CLUB, MI
Have you ever wanted to learn archery? Join us to learn one of the greatest hobbies of all time as we shoot a field course that winds through The Oak Openings. No experience or equipment is necessary. Tomahawk Archers will provide everything you need to have a fun filled afternoon. Cost $10.
Blue Week Storybook Trail at Olander Park
Let’s Build a Rain Garden! This month’s story by Sally Wenczel gives the whole family a close up look at the fun creatures and native plants that thrive inside a rain garden. Begin the story at the Swim Beach parking lot and follow the trail to see the story unfold as you end at one of Olander’s three rain gardens. Continue your exploration of rain gardens and native plants by trying one of our fun virtual activities via the TOPS website at www.olanderpark.com/virtualprograms
Black Swamp Conservancy Native Gardens Tour
Walk the newly planted native gardens at Black Swamp Conservancy’s homestead property. Last year, through a grant from the Country Garden Club Perrysburg, non-native ornamental species were removed and 250 native shrubs and plants were installed including:
As a self-guided tour, folks can be safe while learning about different native plants at their own pace. Each plant group will be identified with an informational marker. Fact sheets about each plant will be available on the BSC that participants can easily access with their telephones in real time, as well as a brochure highlighting some interesting facts and the importance of biodiversity in landscaping.
Explore the Oak Openings Region with a Blue Week Scavenger Hunt!
The Blue Week Scavenger Hunt challenges you to get outside and explore the Oak Openings Region. See for yourself why many have called the Oak Openings Region One of the 200 Last Great Places on Earth!
How to Play: Print out the scavenger hunt booklet or pick one up at one of the Blue Week partners listed below. Find all 12 native species by visiting the parks/preserves listed. Snap a picture of each item you find.
How to Win: Submit your pictures and findings via the Google Form by Sunday, May 16 at 11:59 p.m. for a chance to win GRI Oak Openings swag. Winners will be emailed and announced on Facebook. Google Form Link: https://forms.gle/oHEXoCytQcYZJxBFA
Printed Booklet Locations
Native Plant Sale Now Open For Orders: https://wild-ones-oak-openings-chapter.square.site/