Nature & Environment

6 ways for children and families to enjoy nature this winter

Winter is on the horizon, but your outdoor fun doesn’t need to come to an end. There is a beautiful winter world awaiting for those who seek refreshment and energy from the outdoors. Below are six ways you and your family can enjoy nature this winter, despite the chilly temperatures.

Go stargazing

Winter skies can be the clearest of the year and the richest in stars. In addition to winter constellations such as Orion, Canis Major and the bright star Sirius, Canis Minor and Gemini the Twins, this season you can observe The Great Conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter.

Go outside and look toward the south/southwest, where you will see two objects shining brighter than any surrounding stars. The brighter one is Jupiter and the dimmer one is Saturn.

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Volume 12, Issue 23, Posted 10:02 AM, 12.01.2020

Help birds while you drink coffee

Birds connect us to people in distant lands. The migratory birds that arrive every spring in the United States are the same birds that you would see in South America during our winter. We could talk to a farmer in Nicaragua about the rose-breasted grosbeak and he would see in his mind's-eye what we see. The sorrow we feel as the bird populations dwindle here is the same sorrow felt by birders in South America as losses of forests in Central and South America mirror the habitat loss in the U.S.

It's easy to feel helpless but here is something that you can do to help – and it's as simple as pouring yourself a cup-a-joe and kicking back to watch the birds.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:24 AM, 10.20.2020

General admission resumes at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

To continue serving children and families in the community, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is pleased to be offering free general admission for the first time since March.

General admission, at no charge, allows visitors to enjoy live animal exhibits indoors and outdoors, and displays about natural history and space science. Registration for general admission is required at or 440-871-2900. Preregistered visits will help the Center to ensure capacity and distancing protocols are in place and allow time for cleaning of the facility.

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Volume 12, Issue 17, Posted 9:33 AM, 09.01.2020

Sea Scouts take first place in STEM contest

A team of Sea Scouts from Bay Village has won first place in the STEM Lesson Plan Contest sponsored by Dominion Energy’s Project Plant It! program to teach youth about the benefits of trees to the environment. The three ninth-grade girls – Maeve Kilroy, Maeve Galla and Amy Burgy – with supervision by their skipper, Richard Gash, created a science lesson plan based on a project to plant redbud tree seedlings on the slope of Cahoon Creek in order to prevent soil erosion and runoff into the creek.

The idea for a STEM lesson plan about how trees can help prevent soil erosion germinated from their Sea Scout activities. The girls often put their sailboats in the water in the area of Cahoon Creek that had been cleared to build the new Lake Road bridge, leaving the area vulnerable for runoff of pollutants into the creek. In the course of their research on how to protect the creek, the girls learned about the free redbud tree seedlings offered by Project Plant It!, and they registered to get the seedlings to plant along the slope in April. The COVID-19 crisis has delayed planting until the fall. In the meantime, the team received a $200 Walmart gift card from Dominion Energy to purchase supplies for scout projects.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 10:05 AM, 07.07.2020

How old is your tree?

Denise Pattyn of Bay Village used the formula printed in the June 16 issue to determine that a pin oak tree in her Wolf Road yard is 106 years old.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 10:02 AM, 07.07.2020

What bird is this?

We printed this photo of a “mystery bird” at Bay Village feeder in the June 16 issue of the Observer and asked for readers’ help in identifying it. The myriad responses that came in only heightened the mystery – it’s an immature rose-breasted grosbeak! It’s a purple finch! It’s a juvenile red-winged blackbird! It’s a female grosbeak! We turned to our local gem, the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, for a definitive answer.

“This is an adult female red-winged blackbird,” wrote Tim Jasinski, wildlife rehabilitation specialist at the Center. “Sometimes older females will show deeper colors than normal or more male-like colors resulting from increased testosterone later in life. It could also sometimes just be the photograph, the lighting or other factors but this is definitely a red-winged blackbird!”

Out of the many responses from our amateur bird-watching readers, only one – Chuck Collings – matched the expert in correctly identifying the bird.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 10:38 AM, 07.07.2020

The blue stripe on the Bay Boat Club dock

We came together in the fall of 2019 as strangers from four different schools. We formed Team Zebra, and are now the sixth-grade Ohio State Champion and a Regional Finalist for the eCyberMission STEM competition. Our project involved finding a solution to the zebra mussel and algae growth problem on the dock at Bay Boat Club.

In the summer with the high Lake Erie water levels, the boat dock is underwater and covered with algae and zebra mussels, making it slippery and dangerous. One interesting fact that we learned while researching for this project is that zebra mussels are contributing to the growth of algae in Lake Erie by filtering the water. They are improving water clarity, which then allows the sun to penetrate deeper and support algae growth.

The algae on the dock are a breeding ground for zebra mussels; one female zebra mussel can produce over one million free-floating eggs in a year. Algae act as an incubator for the eggs, which, when hatched, are known as veligers until they grow into adults.

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Volume 12, Issue 12, Posted 9:49 AM, 06.16.2020

Westlake in Bloom brings out families and friends for planting day

Dense fog gave way to sunny skies on May 16 as individuals, families and community groups from across Westlake came out on a Saturday morning to plant the flower boxes along Hilliard Boulevard.

The 224 boxes lining the median from City Hall to the Rocky River line are part of the Westlake in Bloom community beautification program.

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 11:34 AM, 05.19.2020

Backyard Astronomy: May 2020

Astronomy is a great way to reduce stress. Step outside, unplug and look up at the sky – you never know what you will see!

Planetarium specialist Katy Downing of the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center shares the visible planets and constellations to observe in the morning and evening skies.

Morning Sky

Before sunrise, look for Jupiter, Saturn and Mars shining brightly in the east. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and is mostly composed of two elements: hydrogen and helium. The “gas giant” is fairly close to Earth, and will appear the brightest of the three planets in the morning sky, followed by Mars, then Saturn – the most distant planet in our solar system to be seen with the naked eye.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 9:41 AM, 05.05.2020

4 myths about baby wildlife

Spring is here and soon you will see baby animals in your neighborhood. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is here to debunk four of the most common myths related to baby wildlife.

MYTH: “Mothers often abandon baby wildlife in nature.”

Baby wildlife is rarely abandoned in nature. Mothers will often leave their young unattended for hours for a variety of reasons.

For instance, a fawn lying quietly by itself is perfectly normal. Deer do this to protect their young, as the presence of an adult would attract the attention of predators. Raccoons and squirrels will frequently retrieve their babies when they end up out of the nest too early. They often maintain more than one nest or den site and will move their babies as needed.

MYTH: “Baby wildlife must be protected from natural dangers.”

Eastern cottontail rabbits often build their nests in yards and open spaces. If you stumble across one, do not move the baby bunnies because their mother will be unable to find them. She will return at dusk and dawn to feed and groom her babies.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 9:43 AM, 04.07.2020

5 things you didn’t know about Great Horned Owls

Owls are mysterious birds that have captured the attention and curiosity of people all throughout the world. There are over 200 species of owls that come in all shapes and sizes. The most common owl of the Americas is the Great Horned Owl. Great Horned Owls can be found across the continental U.S. in a broad range of habitats, most typically in woods interspersed with open land.

With its earlike tufts, intense yellow-eyed gaze and deep hooting call, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. Here are some Great Horned Owl facts that may surprise you:

Their eyes are not true “eyeballs”

Great Horned Owls have large eyes, pupils that open widely in the dark and retinas that contain many rod cells for excellent night vision and depth perception. Many are surprised to learn that the eyes of all owl species are actually tube-shaped and immobile in their sockets. Fortunately, owls can rotate their heads up to 270 degrees to look in any direction.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 9:53 AM, 02.04.2020

Tri-C program puts focus on Lake Erie’s plastic pollution

The impact of plastic pollution on Lake Erie and the rest of the Great Lakes will be examined during an upcoming program at the Westshore Campus of Cuyahoga Community College. This topic is the focus of the latest “Learning for Life” lecture series program at the campus. The free program takes place Wednesday, Jan. 29.

The discussion will be led by Jill Bartolotta, extension educator with Ohio Sea Grant. The group works with organizations and communities to solve the lake’s most pressing environmental and economic issues.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 9:56 AM, 01.21.2020

How do honey bees survive winter?

“Where did the honey bees go?”

This is one of the questions most frequently asked by Lake Erie Nature & Science Center visitors during the winter months. Despite freezing temperatures and lack of flowers, honey bees survive the winter due to their amazing array of survival mechanisms.

Simply put, honey bees must create their own heat source and maintain a food supply inside the hive in order to make it to spring.

“Once the temperature drops below 50 degrees, honey bees keep the inside of their hive a warm 97 degrees in order to keep the colony alive,” explains Christine Barnett, wildlife program specialist at the Center. “Honey bees must produce over 90 pounds of honey throughout summer in order to survive the winter.”

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 10:35 AM, 01.07.2020

Chimney swifts: our aerial acrobats

If you have ever attended the Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation event called "A Swift's Night Out," you would have been treated to a free show of breath-taking aerial acrobatics as chimney swifts caught bugs and prepared to enter their roost for a well deserved night's rest.

Chimney swifts are unique birds. They cannot stand or perch but are uniquely adapted to grasping the inside of old hollow trees and masonry chimneys, which they adapted to using as settlers cut down the forests. Their Latin name is Chaetura pelagica, referring to a tail which has spiny ends. Their specialized toes and this pointy tail help them cling to vertical surfaces.

Chimney swifts are aerial insectivores, which means they catch all their food while in flight. They can eat one-third their body weight in mosquito-sized insects daily – more if they are feeding a nest of hungry hatchlings. Not only do these birds catch all food while flying, they do just about everything "on-the-wing," including bathing by skimming the surface of ponds or lakes.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:13 AM, 12.03.2019

Power your house with 100% renewable electricity today

Did you know that the Cleveland-Akron-Canton metro area is ranked as one of the top 10 U.S. cities most polluted by year-round particle pollution? The American Lung Association’s "State of the Air 2019" report indicates that particle pollution can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and asthma, as well as interfere in the growth and general functioning of the lungs. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Ohio is the third-largest coal-consuming state in the nation after Texas and Indiana, and nearly 90% of the coal consumed in Ohio is used for electric power generation. Fossil fuel-burning power plants, like NRG Energy's Avon Lake power plant several miles west of us, are contributors to the particle pollution problem. 

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 9:11 AM, 10.01.2019

Tri-C Westshore program dives into critical issues facing Lake Erie

An upcoming program at the Westshore Campus of Cuyahoga Community College will examine efforts to restore and rejuvenate Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. The topic is the focus of the latest “Learning for Life” lecture series program at the campus. The free program takes place Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The discussion will be led by members of Ohio Sea Grant, which works with coastal groups and communities to solve the lake’s most pressing environmental and economic issues. The conversation will address issues such as harmful algal blooms, the threat of invasive marine species and the impact of climate change – all critical to the long-term health of Lake Erie. Speakers will include Ohio Sea Grant’s director, Christopher Winslow, and extension educator Sarah Orlando.

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Volume 11, Issue 18, Posted 9:14 AM, 09.17.2019

Backyard Astronomy: September 2019

Summer is coming to a close, but on the bright side – there will be more time to look up each night and enjoy the night sky. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's planetarium specialist Katy Downing shares some of the astronomical events, visible planets and constellations to watch out for this month.

Autumnal Equinox

An equinox is the moment when Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres receive approximately equal amounts of sunlight – this year on Monday, Sept. 23, at approximately 3:50 a.m. EDT. Equinoxes occur twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is tilted neither away from nor toward the sun.

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Volume 11, Issue 18, Posted 9:11 AM, 09.17.2019

Westlake Garden Club fall speaker series

Founded in 1963, the Westlake Garden Club is dedicated to fostering beauty in the garden and home, and promoting horticultural education, civic beauty and community conservation. Regular Garden Club meetings are held at Westlake Porter Public Library on the third Wednesday of the month at 11:30 a.m. (March through December).

As the growing season begins to wind down, the Garden Club will host an evening series of presentations, open to the public, beginning with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy on Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. at Westlake Porter Public Library. Vice President and Director of Thriving Communities, Jim Rokakis, will discuss the efforts of the WRLC in our region to support working farms and preserve vibrant natural resources alongside healthy, thriving cities.

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Volume 11, Issue 17, Posted 9:51 AM, 09.04.2019

Bay Maritime Explorer Club receives prestigious Army Values Award

Congratulations to the Microfiber Fighters, who were chosen as the eCyberMission National Finalists along with 20 other finalist teams in the 2019 U.S. Army-sponsored competition. We were selected from 5,097 teams to attend a week-long National Judging and Educational Event (NJEE) in Washington, D.C. 

Activities included hands-on STEM workshops led by Army scientists and engineers, a special session hosted by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, a visit to Capitol Hill and Congressional Library, and a tour of the National Mall. In our visit to Congress we met with Senator Rob Portman’s legislative correspondent, Sam Hattrup, who stated: “The health and well-being of Lake Erie is one of Senator Portman’s top priorities; the senator would be interested in the research of Microfiber Fighters.”

After a ride on the Senate train to the other side of Congress we met with Congresswoman Joyce Beatty who was also very interested to hear of our project to prevent microfibers entering out into lakes from washing machines.

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Volume 11, Issue 13, Posted 9:52 AM, 07.02.2019

Kick off summer at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

The summer solstice on Friday, June 21, marks the start of summer and the longest day of the year.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky. The word “solstice” comes from Latin solstitium – from sol (sun) and stitium (standing), reflecting the fact that on the solstice, the sun appears to stop moving in the sky as it reaches its northernmost point.

Celebrate the solstice by joining Lake Erie Nature & Science Center for its first Telescope Night of the season on Saturday, June 22, at 8:30 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 9:43 AM, 06.18.2019

Does baby wildlife need our help?

As we spring into summer, it’s easy to notice the highly active wildlife in your neighborhood. Baby animals are out and about, and Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is answering some of the most common questions they receive from concerned callers during their busiest season of the year.

I noticed a fawn alone in the grass. Is it abandoned?

Baby wildlife is rarely abandoned in nature and mothers will often leave their young unattended for hours. For instance, a fawn lying quietly by itself is perfectly normal. Deer do this to protect their young, as the presence of an adult would attract the attention of predators. If a fawn seems to be in a “dangerous” location, do not move it or the mother will have trouble finding her baby.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 10:24 AM, 06.04.2019

Rain, rain, go away – it's time to plant

Grow where you're planted is literally what the Bay Village Garden Club (BVGC) is all about. Whether you're a gardener or someone who cares about a beautiful civic environment, the club provides an abundance of programs, field trips, tips for green living, and opportunities to help others right in your own backyard!

We are busy planting blooms at our "Welcome to Bay Village" planters seen all around town, as well as colorful flowers at City Hall, and in the handsome planters by Thyme Table restaurant. Our members maintain, and even weed, several areas including the Gazebo at Cahoon Park.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 10:26 AM, 06.04.2019

Congratulations Project Wildlife class of 2019!

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center congratulates the Project Wildlife Class of 2019 including Robert Amsdell of Lake Ridge Academy, Paige Burns of Westlake High School, Mia Centuori of Rocky River High School, Sarah Krofta of Olmsted Falls High School, Sofia Motelka of St. Joseph Academy, Isabella Teter of Lorain High School, Will Triplett of Rocky River High School and Alyssa Veverka of Olmsted Falls High School.

The Center is the only organization in Northeast Ohio for teenagers to gain hands-on experience in the fields of wildlife and animal care. Project Wildlife serves as a valuable career experience and introduces students to the wide variety of opportunities available in the field. The majority of this year’s graduating seniors plan to continue their education by pursuing degrees in the areas of biology, environmental science, veterinary medicine or related studies.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 10:26 AM, 05.21.2019

Westlake Garden Club celebrates Arbor Day

Rain and windchill didn’t stop the Westlake Garden Club Members and officials from the City of Westlake from celebrating Arbor Day 2019 on Friday, April 26. Arbor Day was proposed in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska. It was first observed by planting more than a million trees in Nebraska. Today, we celebrate this Day throughout the nation and the world.

The Westlake Garden Club co-Presidents, Sally Knurek and Shirley Lutts, were present for the planting of a Katsura tree at the Rec Center Playground. The Katsura tree leaves emerge in March-April with reddish purple leaves, that turn orange-gold in the fall with a fragrance of cinnamon, ripe apples and burnt sugar. Tiny flowers, either red or green, depending on the gender of the tree, appear in the early spring. The tree can reach a height of 40 feet to 60 feet in cultivation. It is known for its beautiful shape.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:30 PM, 05.06.2019

Washing machines polluting our lake

Last year we, the Microfiber Fighters, learned a startling fact: Our washing machines are sending billions of microplastics into Lake Erie. The less than 1 mm particles come from all the synthetic materials that go into our clothes, such as fleeces and yoga pants.

As a team we decided to experiment and see if by using common household items we could capture the particles prior to them being discharged into our wastewater system, then into Lake Erie, and then into our drinking water and even into the walleye and perch we eat.

We tried Velcro dots inside a wiffle ball, then we tried hair rollers inside a dog toy, looking for an even better solution. Thinking that maybe we were not getting enough water flow through the ball we thought the dog toy, with its larger holes, would be the solution but that was not the answer either.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:11 PM, 05.06.2019

Summer adventures await at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

From the shores of Lake Erie to the launching pad of a rocket, summer adventures in the great outdoors await at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center!

Summer camps at the Center offer preschoolers and students the opportunity to explore and connect with the outdoors, meet new friends, encounter local wildlife and discover the sky above in Schuele Planetarium. Experienced teachers engage campers in hands-on, nature-based activities that integrate science, math, literacy and the arts.

Three-day Nature Nuts and Log Cabin camps are offered weekly beginning June 11 through Aug. 8 for preschoolers through Grade 2. Children will explore Huntington Reservation, meet live animals, play games, make crafts, conduct experiments and more.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:14 PM, 05.06.2019

Celebrate Earth Day at the YMCA with free 'Silent Spring' learning program

Concerned about our planet? You should be.

The Earth's sustainable resources are no longer in limitless supply and behind the scenes the fragile ecosystem is weakening at an alarming rate.

Consider this: As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem. They support the growth of trees, flowers and other plants, which serve as food and shelter for creatures large and small. Bees contribute to complex, interconnected ecosystems that allow a diverse number of different species to co-exist.

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Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 9:51 AM, 04.16.2019

Baby wildlife do's and don'ts

Spring is here and soon you will see baby animals in your neighborhood. As Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s wildlife staff prepares for their busiest season of the year, here are some of their do’s and don’ts for helping baby wildlife.

DO: Allow baby wildlife to grow up in their natural environment

Baby animals are vulnerable, yet resilient. Pets, predators and automobiles are all a natural part of their urban and suburban environments. Baby wildlife must grow up among these circumstances in order to learn how to successfully co-exist with them.

DON’T: Assume baby wildlife is abandoned

Baby wildlife is rarely abandoned in nature and mothers often leave their young unattended for hours. For instance, a fawn lying quietly by itself with no mother in sight is perfectly normal. Deer do this to protect their young, as the presence of an adult would attract the attention of predators.

Certain baby animals are not supposed to be left alone, including ducklings and goslings. If you are unsure if an animal needs help, always call Lake Erie Nature & Science Center at 440-471-8357 before intervening.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 9:45 AM, 04.02.2019

Astronomy Club to meet at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center on March 20

Calling all local sky enthusiasts! Join Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s Astronomy Club on Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m.

Planetarium specialist and NASA Solar System Ambassador Bill Reed launched Astronomy Club in Spring 2018 to provide people of all ages and backgrounds a chance to learn about astronomy in a fun and social environment. Astronomy Club hosts monthly meetings at the Center where Reed shares current events, gadget and software reviews and pop culture news.

Monthly meetings are open to the public, and participants can gain access to Astronomy Club’s special events including planetarium movie nights and telescope workshops through a Center membership. Club members range from teenagers through seniors, bringing different interests and experiences that result in an inclusive and collaborative learning environment.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 10:07 AM, 03.19.2019

Westlake Rain and Garden Show focuses on local watershed priorities

The City of Westlake and the Westlake Watershed Group are hosting the eighth annual Rain and Garden Show on Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Market Square in Crocker Park, 239 Market Street. The event is free and open to the public.

Families of all ages will enjoy a variety of vendors, demonstrations and exhibitors. The robust list of more than 40 vendors and exhibitors include Drink Local, Drink Tap; the Lorain County Beekeepers Association; Aqua Doc; Don Mould’s Plantation; Good Nature Organic Lawn Care and more.

The Kid Zone is open from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and includes a face painter, balloon clown and special guest star, Michael Roy of Cirque du Papier. Additionally, the first 100 kids will receive free gift totes.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 10:06 AM, 03.19.2019

Learn about the latest in manned space flight on March 13

Join Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Planetarium Specialist Katy Downing for SkyQuest: Humans in Space on Wednesday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m.

Downing will provide her annual overview of what is currently happening in the world of manned space flight in the Center’s Schuele Planetarium. The presentation will include the latest information on the astronauts aboard the International Space Station and the progress of the Orion Spacecraft, which was designed by NASA to carry astronauts to destinations in deep space, including an asteroid and Mars.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:56 AM, 03.05.2019

Reforesting the Forest City: Learn about Cleveland's tree plan

Did you know that Cleveland used to be known as the “Forest City?” This was because our city promoted reforestation efforts, improving our urban landscape and tree canopy (the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above), earning Cleveland the nickname.

But since the 1950s, the city has lost nearly half our street trees. The tree canopy stands at just 19 percent, putting us behind cities such as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Boston and even New York, some of whose canopies are almost double ours. Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, improving public health, increasing real estate value, sustaining wildlife … these are just a few of the reasons why we should care about Cleveland’s tree canopies. Our urban forests affects our health, prosperity and the overall quality of our lives.

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Volume 10, Issue 21, Posted 10:01 AM, 11.06.2018

Tri-C program explores environmental sustainability

Cuyahoga Community College will examine human impact on wildlife and the ecosystem during a “Learning for Life” lecture series program on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Corporate College West.

The free program will focus on mankind’s footprint on the world and the cumulative effect of seemingly small actions, such as spraying garden pesticides. The discussion will include tips on how people can reduce their environmental impact.

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Volume 10, Issue 21, Posted 9:58 AM, 11.06.2018

Cub Scouts, Green Team join forces to protect Lake Erie

On Saturday, Sept. 22, Cub Scouts from Pack 39 out of Bay Village got together with members of the Bay Village Green Team to spray paint warnings next to the storm drains around the middle school and library. The warnings are brief, “Lake Erie Starts Here” and “Do Not Dump,” yet extremely important to one of our most precious regional resources, Lake Erie. Not only does our great lake provide multiple recreational outlets, increased property values, world-class walleye fishing and so much more it is also our source of drinking water.

Claire Brunch, from the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, helped facilitate the project and informed the scouts that anything that goes into the storm drains in Bay Village will end up flowing into Lake Erie. The storm drains are not the same as sewers which go through treatment facilities. Any liquids and materials that enter storm drains will not be treated prior to entering the lake.

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Volume 10, Issue 19, Posted 9:53 AM, 10.02.2018

Westlake community garden flourishes

With the prime growing season in full swing, the fruits and vegetables in Westlake’s community garden got a little extra help from above last month.

Warm summer sun mixed with bouts of gentle, steady rain are a boon for any gardener, but a sprinkle of holy water and prayers for a bountiful harvest may add a bit of insurance for Westlake’s growers.

On July 25, Rev. Damian Ezeani from UH St. John Medical Center led the annual blessing ceremony at the Westlake Community Garden on the hospital’s campus. After a brief welcome by Mayor Dennis Clough and UH SJMC President Robert David, gardeners joined Sister Kendra Bottoms in a hymn of praise. Sharing his own words and a prayer written by Westlake resident Brian Thompson for the garden’s opening in 2014, Rev. Ezeani blessed the garden and the nourishing food it provides.

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Volume 10, Issue 15, Posted 10:28 AM, 08.07.2018

Eyes to the sky on Aug. 11

Look up! The Perseid Meteor Shower, one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year, will occur the evening of Saturday, Aug. 11.

In preparation for this cosmic event, planetarium specialist Monica Marshall of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is here to explain what a meteor shower is and provide tips for seeing shooting stars this August.

What is a meteor shower?

Comets are large, icy solar system bodies. As a comet passes closer to the sun, its ice warms and begins to release particles of dust and rock into the atmosphere, which can result in a glowing trail of vapor.

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Volume 10, Issue 15, Posted 9:46 AM, 08.07.2018

Westlake Tree Commission hosts annual Arbor Day planting

Friday, April 27, was a beautiful day at Dover Intermediate School in Westlake to hold the annual Arbor Day tree planting ceremony. Mayor Dennis Clough, Westlake Service Director Paul Quinn III, Urban Forestry Manager Stan Barnard and members of the Westlake Service Department were there to assist with the planting of an October Glory red maple tree in front of the school.

Several weeks prior  to the ceremony, all fifth-grade students were invited to submit a poster explaining “Why trees are important to me!” At that time Mary Beth Schneidler, chairwoman of the Westlake Tree Commission, spoke to the students about Arbor Day, the importance of trees and to explain the contest; 117 members of the class designed a poster to enter in the annual contest! The posters were then judged by Stan Barnard and members of the Commission.

Excitement grew as Mayor Clough began to announce the six winners of the contest. The winners – Ciara Weaver, Isabella Frankito, Avery Schreffler, Austin Schneidler, Lindsay Sabo and Pramit Bafna – each received  a proclamation from the mayor announcing their day in Westlake and congratulating them for an outstanding poster. The students also received a ribbon for the winning posters and were told all the posters would be on display the next week at the Westlake Recreation Center.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 10:36 AM, 05.01.2018

Explorer Club 360 and the chemistry of Porter Creek

This is the last in a series of articles written by Explorer Club 360 on the health of Porter Creek, a stream that flows through Westlake and Bay Village, discharging to Lake Erie at Huntington Beach. Concern regarding the creek came from a 2014 study by the Cuyahoga County Health Department that stated that E. coli from Porter Creek was responsible for closing the beach for 10-20 percent of the swimming season.

Our assignment was to research the chemistry of Porter Creek. We looked for characteristics such as pH levels, total dissolved solids, salinity, conductivity and coliform. The goal of the assignment was to see if there is a main source where the most pollutants are being discharged into the creek water. We believe our assignment is important because if our creeks are being strongly polluted it may start to affect our main water source, Lake Erie. By taking these tests we were able to see the main pollutants in the water and how they are affecting our creeks.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 10:02 AM, 05.01.2018

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center launches Astronomy Club

Calling all local sky enthusiasts! Join Lake Erie Nature & Science Center on Wednesday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. for the second meeting of Astronomy Club. NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador Bill Reed will share the latest news in space, gadgets and astronomy entertainment in a fun and social environment. Astronomy Club will also feature movie nights in Schuele Planetarium, hands-on workshops and telescope viewing.

Astronomy Club is recommended for adults and children ages 6 and up.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 10:00 AM, 05.01.2018

Cuyahoga River discussion set for May 1

The health of the Cuyahoga River will be the discussion topic for the Tuesday, May 1, meeting of the Westlake/North Olmsted Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland.  The public is welcome to attend at 7 p.m. at the North Olmsted Branch of the Cuyahoga County Library, 27403 Lorain Road.

Elaine Marsh, Watershed Specialist for Summit County Metro Parks, will present “Freeing the Falls,” the interwoven story of the Cuyahoga River, the Gorge Metro Park and its dam. Known for her many efforts for the Cuyahoga River, Ms. Marsh is a 1989 co-founder of the Friends of the Crooked River and maintains extensive involvement in water quality programs through the region.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 11:53 AM, 04.27.2018