While I was in grade school, my parents often hiked in the state metro parks near our hometown. My siblings and I typically tagged along. We'd walk the trails with Mom and Dad but also frequent the edge of the path to watch a chipmunk scurry behind a fallen tree or to catch a glimpse of the ducks wading in the pond in the distance.
It's time to further enjoy and appreciate those natural sceneries once again. The seasons are changing and Mother Nature invites you to indulge while the weather doesn't require heavy coats, hats, mittens and boots. The temperature outside is increasing, the school year is winding down and your body is anxious to get outside. It's time.
As you fill in your weekend schedules with lunch dates, family parties and yard work, remember the beautiful state and national parks that exist. If you're lucky to live near one of these parks or other nature preserves, take advantage of the peaceful quiet space they provide - the natural seclusion.
Many individuals have their favorite park to visit for an evening jog, picnic or family hike. Tom Cooperrider, author of Botanical Essays from Kent and short-term employee of The Davey Tree Expert Company in 1979, favors the Kent Bog State Nature Preserve, the focal point of his book.
The Kent Bog is located in Cooperrider's and Davey headquarter's long-time residence and hometown: Kent, Ohio. The 42-acre bog forest formed when a thick glacier melted and formed a depression, which then filled with water. A forest of spruce, fir and tamarack trees surrounded the resulting 50-acre kettle-hole lake. As plants sprouted along the shoreline and sphagnum moss covered the lake, the warming climate then began the natural process to transform the lake into a bog meadow.
Today, the Kent Bog forest is the largest and southernmost strand of tamarack trees in Ohio and the continental U.S., respectively. Although the bog will someday disappear as did the glacier that once occupied the same land, visitors should respect the preserve so future generations can walk its path for years to come.
All visitors can access a half-mile, wheelchair accessible boardwalk that was constructed using recycled content materials, in support if the Ohio Department of Natural Resource's Division of Recycling and Litter Prevention. Both naturalist-led tours and guided tours are available, but visitors may roam the path alone and at their own pace as well.
Cooperrider wrote Botanical Essays from Kent to not only commemorate its history, but also to recognize the natural environment and botanical objects that have occupied the preserve for thousands of years. "I wanted to provide a legacy for the bog - what it is, why it's important," he says.
Whether you continue to frequent your favorite local park trails just minutes from your home or explore new areas in different cities, states or vacation destinations, Mother Nature's creations are worth your time and interest. So take advantage of their beauty this season. Sit in the green grass. Absorb the warm sunshine. Look up into the tall trees. And walk the winding trails.