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Portage County

I can assure the readership that this will not be a critique of the famous Dickens novel of the same name, but a few ideas on how to make the most of your adventures when exploring Nearby Nature. When you go to the zoo you want to see the animals, the same can be said about hiking, camping, or fishing; you want to see and experience nature first hand. When the sun is shining, birds chirping, and you go out to experience nature, one of the most disappointing things that can happen is that by the end of the day all you have experienced is tired/aching legs and bug bites from your hike.

As with anything in life, a little planning and preparation can go a long way to make the experience enjoyable and meet your expatiations or the expectations your group may have. Technology has greatly aided in this regard with web sites and blogs highlighting what is occurring in our area or an area you are planning on making a visit to in the near future. All of the areas’ park districts have web sites with links to their calendars of events and/or newsletters which highlight what is going on or what to look for in their respective parks during the various seasons. However, I want to focus on two sites specifically, eBird ( http://ohioebirdhotspots.wikispaces.com) and Trek Ohio ( http://trekohio.com/). These two sites can almost guarantee your expectations will be meet.

Let’s take the Snowy owl as an example. You are determined to see one but don’t know where to go. Let’s visit eBird. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides real time information on bird distribution worldwide. Individual birders submit checklists with species names of birds seen and/or heard and location into the main web site. These locations called “hotspots” will list the date and number of a particular species. Sometime the information is time-sensitive, especially during migrations. Birds may spend only a short time in a location before continuing on their journey.  Above is an example what the eBird screen looks like. I have chosen Portage County but you can pick any county in Ohio. In the Birdtrax data table is a compilation of all the bird sightings in the county by location. Specific locations can be found on in the middle of the page and by clicking on a location, trail maps, descriptions, and other useful information can be found. Also listed are rare bird alerts, historical data on species, and links to other birding web sites. The site is very user friendly and once you have spent some time navigating around the page you will be able to find the nearest location and  see that elusive Snowy Owl!

The TrekOhio Guide  http://trekohio.com/ is designed to help meet expectations of hikers and nature enthusiasts around Ohio. The site specializes in listing natural sites and activities in Ohio. Developed by a husband and wife team, Bob and Deb Platt, they have created one place online where you could learn about sites that are in the same geographical region regardless of whether the park, nature preserve, or trail managed by the federal, state, or county government, or a non-governmental agency. Broken down into five quadrants, the site allows the user to click on the region of interest of the state and a listing of the counties appears. Click on a county and a list of all the natural areas appears, complete with directions and points of interest. Along the right side is a listing of seasonal or special events across the state and nature blogs from various sources around Ohio. Of particular interest is the “nice to know section” and “hiking overviews.” The nice to know area is an excellent quick reference with pictures of plants and animals to be looking for during your hike. You can quickly see that a lot of time and effort has been put into this site and will surely meet with your expatiations.

Also Matt and I urge you vote May 6th and support the upcoming Portage Park levy.

 

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Portage County – The 2014 Northeast Ohio Envirothon is an outdoor academic competition that provides area high schoolers with a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about environmental conservation and sustainability. The event features an “ecostation” format, where students travel to five outdoor stations to answer questions from the content areas of Soils, Wildlife, Forestry, Aquatics, and Environmental Issues. The students’ work is graded, and the top four teams move on to the State competition.  The State competition has the same format, but is spread over a two-day period. This year’s State Envirothon will be held on June 9th & 10th at Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County.  The winning team from the State competition will move on to the National Canon North American Envirothon which will be held July 20-24, 2014 at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia.

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Ravenna – The Portage County Historical Society in Ravenna will host a Christmas Open House & Holiday Fund-Raising Sale on Saturday, December 11, 2010 from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M.

The Lowrie-Beatty Museum, Carter house, Strickland house, Log Cabin, Campbell Land Office, Ford Seed Store, Mahan Barn and Indian Village will all be open for tours.

The “Unique Gift” Fund Raising Sale will feature items donated just for this sale.  Tables will be set up throughout the facility and a special table will be Just for Kids, with all items under $1.00.  The society needs good quality items donated for the fundraising sale and will be accepting donations until Thursday, December 9, 2010. Things such as older Christmas decorations, glassware, china, tools, old toys, games and books are the type of items the society needs for the fund raising sale. A 50-50-Raffle, Door Prizes and refreshments will be located in the Library area of the Museum building.  The Historical Society is located at 6549 North Chestnut Street, Ravenna Ohio. For more information call 330-296-3523 or visit http://history.portage.oh.us

Area residents who have lost someone to suicide will gather Nov. 20 to find support and to honor their loved ones at the 12th Annual National Survivors of Suicide Day sponsored by the Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
“What we know is that every 16 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide and every 17 minutes someone is left to understand the loss. There have been more than 20 suicides this year in Portage County which, sadly, is close to a new record. Our mission is to continue to educate our community about the causes and to provide support,” said Paul Dages, coalition coordinator and emergency services coordinator at Townhall II.
The free event runs from 12:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sue Hetrick Building of Coleman Professional Services, 3922 Lovers Lane, Ravenna. Other sponsors are Coleman Access, located in the Hetrick Building, and the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.
Coleman Access will be one of 260 simultaneous conferences for survivors of suicide loss taking place throughout the U.S. and around the world. At each site participants will watch a special 90-minute broadcast by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. AFSP is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.
In the U.S., conference locations will show the broadcast from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. At the Portage County site, the group will follow up with a discussion about the broadcast. The discussion will be led by psychologist Dr. Joel Mowrey, associate director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County; Becky Dempster, chief officer of Coleman Access and a suicide survivor; and survivor and advocate Iris Angle of Aurora.
“We have a very low key approach. Survivors can share what they are able or just listen. For some it is the first time they are able to tap into a support system of others who have experienced the same devastating loss,” said Mowrey.
Walk-ins are welcome but pre-registering is recommended. To sign up, call Mowrey at 330-673-1756, ext. 203, or email him at joelm@mental-health-recovery.org.
Persons who cannot attend the Ravenna event that day can watch the free live webcast from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and participate in a live online chat immediately following. The site address is www.afsp.org. Registration is required from your home computer. The webcast will be saved on the AFSP site so that survivors can watch it again throughout the year at anytime. Past webcasts are also available for viewing.
The Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition was established in 2005 by local human services agencies to provide education about preventing suicide, eliminating the stigma surrounding suicide and supporting survivors, those persons who have someone close to them who completes suicide. Any interested person is welcome to join the coalition which meets at 3 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the MHRB, 155 E. Main St., Kent. Call Dages at 330-678-3006 for more information.
Go to the MRHB Web site at www.mental-health-recovery.org to find information on local resources for persons seeking help to prevent a suicide.

Area residents who have lost someone to suicide will gather Nov. 20 to find support and to honor their loved ones at the 12th Annual National Survivors of Suicide Day sponsored by the Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition.“What we know is that every 16 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide and every 17 minutes someone is left to understand the loss. There have been more than 20 suicides this year in Portage County which, sadly, is close to a new record. Our mission is to continue to educate our community about the causes and to provide support,” said Paul Dages, coalition coordinator and emergency services coordinator at Townhall II.The free event runs from 12:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sue Hetrick Building of Coleman Professional Services, 3922 Lovers Lane, Ravenna. Other sponsors are Coleman Access, located in the Hetrick Building, and the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.Coleman Access will be one of 260 simultaneous conferences for survivors of suicide loss taking place throughout the U.S. and around the world. At each site participants will watch a special 90-minute broadcast by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. AFSP is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.In the U.S., conference locations will show the broadcast from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. At the Portage County site, the group will follow up with a discussion about the broadcast. The discussion will be led by psychologist Dr. Joel Mowrey, associate director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County; Becky Dempster, chief officer of Coleman Access and a suicide survivor; and survivor and advocate Iris Angle of Aurora.“We have a very low key approach. Survivors can share what they are able or just listen. For some it is the first time they are able to tap into a support system of others who have experienced the same devastating loss,” said Mowrey.Walk-ins are welcome but pre-registering is recommended. To sign up, call Mowrey at 330-673-1756, ext. 203, or email him at joelm@mental-health-recovery.org.Persons who cannot attend the Ravenna event that day can watch the free live webcast from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and participate in a live online chat immediately following. The site address is www.afsp.org. Registration is required from your home computer. The webcast will be saved on the AFSP site so that survivors can watch it again throughout the year at anytime. Past webcasts are also available for viewing.The Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition was established in 2005 by local human services agencies to provide education about preventing suicide, eliminating the stigma surrounding suicide and supporting survivors, those persons who have someone close to them who completes suicide. Any interested person is welcome to join the coalition which meets at 3 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the MHRB, 155 E. Main St., Kent. Call Dages at 330-678-3006 for more information.Go to the MRHB Web site at www.mental-health-recovery.org to find information on local resources for persons seeking help to prevent a suicide.