Nature & Environment

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

Does baby wildlife need our help?

Spring is here and wildlife reproduction will soon be at its peak. As Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s wildlife staff prepares for their busiest season of the year, Director of Wildlife Amy LeMonds answers the most common questions her staff receives about baby wildlife.

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

A: Baby wildlife is rarely abandoned in nature. Mothers will often leave their young unattended for several reasons. 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.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 9:51 AM, 04.17.2018

Explorer Club 360 promotes water conservation challenge

This is the third in a series of articles written by Explorer Club 360 on the health of Porter Creek.

Over the winter Explorer Club 360 conducted an environmental study of Porter Creek. We found that its watershed needs help to reduce the negative impact that runoff is having on the creek ecosystem. As a positive and first step forward, we are suggesting the promotion of the Wyland Mayor's Water Conservation Challenge to the citizens of Bay Village and Westlake.

The challenge requires individuals to take the My Water Pledge, “a friendly competition between cities across the U.S. to see who can be the most 'water-wise.' Mayors nationwide are challenging their residents to conserve water, energy and other natural resources on behalf of their city through a series of informative, easy-to-use pledges online. Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category win.”

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 9:46 AM, 04.17.2018

Westlake Watershed Group to host stream cleanup

Since all stormwater flows directly into Lake Erie untreated, removing trash and other debris from the streams helps keep this vital resource vibrant.

The Westlake Watershed Group will hold the Community Spring Stream Cleanup on Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are asked to dress for the weather, bring gloves, and meet in the gazebo BEHIND Westlake City Hall at 27700 Hilliard Blvd. Pizza will be provided at noon for all who help!

Please RSVP by emailing by Monday, April 30. Details at

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 9:44 AM, 04.17.2018

Explorer Club 360: The macroinvertebrate of Porter Creek

This is the second in a series of three articles on the health of Porter Creek, a stream that flows through Westlake and Bay Village, exiting at Huntington Beach into Lake Erie. Our concern regarding the creek came from a 2014 study conducted by the Cuyahoga County Health Department that showed E. coli from Porter Creek was responsible for closing the beach for 10-20 percent of the swimming season.

Our assignment was to study the benthic macroinvertebrate of the creek. “Benthic” means bottom dwelling, “macro” means big (big enough to be seen without a microscope) and “invertebrate” means without a backbone. In other words, water bugs that live in or on the creek bottom.

Our first step in our exploration of Porter Creek bottom-dwelling creatures was to obtain the necessary wild animal permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. At the cost of $25, Wild Animal Permit 19-117 allows us to collect macroinvertebrate for educational purposes.

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 9:35 AM, 04.03.2018

Westlake Rain & Garden Show will explore ways to protect watershed

"Protecting Our Future" is this year’s theme for the City of Westlake’s Rain and Garden Show, which will be held at Crocker Park’s Market Square on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“The use of sustainable practices and conservation throughout our watershed helps protect our future,” said Robert Kelly, director of the Westlake Engineering Department. “We bring local vendors and organizations together at this family-friendly event, appealing to both adults and children to make it easier to learn how to help keep our local waterways clean and sustainable.”

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:11 AM, 03.20.2018

Explorer Club 360: Visual assessment of Porter Creek

This is the first in a series of three articles from members of Explorer Club 360 on the health of Porter Creek, a stream that flows through Westlake and Bay Village, exiting at Huntington Beach into Lake Erie.

Our concern regarding the creek came from a study conducted by the Cuyahoga County Health Department as reported in their June 30, 2014, “A Holistic Watershed Approach to Health at Huntington Beach.” In summary the report 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 do a visual assessment of the creek, observing the presence of physical debris, foam, wildlife, bank erosion and the water characteristics such as flow, turbidity and clarity.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:14 AM, 03.20.2018

Bay Village ranks as a top 'Tree City' in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently announced that Bay Village ranked fifth out of 64 “Tree Cities” throughout the state. The Tree City USA Survey was conducted by the Ohio Division of Forestry to measure the success of urban forestry programs in communities across the state.

The survey scored Bay Village especially high for having an organized tree commission that works closely with the city arborist, and for creating and maintaining a tree ordinance.

The city’s tree commission is currently awaiting approval of an updated Tree Protection Ordinance, which will work in conjunction with the city’s Master Plan. This document details the regulations for planting, maintenance and removal of trees within Bay Village.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:43 AM, 02.20.2018

7 hacks to a more sustainable lifestyle

Wondering how you can live more sustainably? Reducing our environmental impact allows for a healthier planet and in turn yields a more productive social, economic and environmental climate. Alexa Wagner, education specialist at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, provides her suggestions on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Shop Sustainably

When browsing through the grocery aisles, look for sustainable products labeled as organic or fair trade. Studies have shown that organic foods (grown without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilizers) actually contain more nutrients than conventionally grown food.

Tip: Shop farmers markets for fresh, locally grown produce.


Bring your own bottle, bag or box. Reusable water bottles are an easy way to implement sustainability into your lifestyle, and will save you money in the long run. Reusable bags also serve many purposes. Bring a few while running errands or use one to pack your lunch.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 9:42 AM, 02.20.2018

Hikes Before Homework

Take a nature break before settling in for homework!

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is excited to announce its new offering for students in grades 5-8, Hikes Before Homework. An education specialist will pick students up at Bay Middle School at dismissal for a brisk hike through Huntington Reservation to stretch their legs, fit in healthy exercise and clear their minds for the homework ahead. After the hike, students will head to the Center to start their homework in a quiet space.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:56 AM, 02.06.2018

How does wildlife cope with winter?

Northeast Ohio winters call for heavy coats, heated automobiles and cozy fires to escape the cold.

What about wildlife? How do animals cope with the harsh conditions of winter? Director of Wildlife, Amy LeMonds, is here to answer some of the most common questions she receives at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

Where does wildlife go?

Over time, wildlife has evolved and adapted to the climatic changes in their habitats. Animals who cannot cope with winter’s conditions have developed different mechanisms for survival. For example, some animals hibernate throughout the entire winter, while others migrate south to a warmer place.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 10:02 AM, 12.19.2017

New exhibits for children at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

Among the many live animals, the make-your-own constellation display and the ever-popular log, children and families visiting Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will have even more to enjoy. Two new exhibits have been installed to encourage children and adults to learn about our native species overhead and underwater.

“What is Your Wingspan?” invites children to compare their own arm span with the wingspans of native birds such as blue jays, mallards, red-tailed hawks and eagles. Positioned at a young learner’s level, the exhibit creates a colorful hands-on learning experience and a fun photo opportunity.

“Native Fish of Lake Erie” highlights many of the species living in our Great Lake, along with their size, ecological region and other fun facts. The display was designed in collaboration with Ohio Sea Grant to encourage reading and conversation as young children explore the Center’s live animal exhibits with their families.

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:33 AM, 12.05.2017

Eyes to the sky this winter

Winter is known for its cold temperatures and snowy skies, but did you know winter happens to be one of the best times of the year to go stargazing? When winter skies are clear, they are crystal clear and hold some of the brightest stars in the night sky.

The Winter Solstice on Dec. 21 will mark the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year, as the sun will set at 5:01 p.m. Katy Downing, planetarium specialist at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, shares her favorite constellations to spot this winter.

Orion the Hunter

One of the most popular constellations, Orion the Hunter happens to be one of the easiest to find in the winter night sky. Look south in search of three stars crossing diagonally through a large rectangle. The three stars create Orion’s Belt, while the four stars of the rectangle represent Orion’s shoulders and knees. On a clear night, grab your binoculars and look for the Orion Nebula (a formation of gases and dust) within the constellation.

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Volume 9, Issue 22, Posted 9:58 AM, 11.21.2017

A squirrelly tale

Our backyard swimming pool remained open late this year, due to the beautiful fall weather we enjoyed. Louie, our resident Labrador, swims every day when the weather permits – and this fall the days were very conducive to his favorite pastime.

But last week was another story, and the setting for this tale. I looked outside on a cold day and saw a squirrel swimming in the pool. After he jumped out he lay on the deck, shivering from the cold water and exhaustion. My dad and I covered him with a towel for warmth. I called the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center for suggestions. They said to bring him to the Center, if possible.

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Volume 9, Issue 22, Posted 9:57 AM, 11.21.2017

Learn about the importance of our 'Crooked River'

The Westlake Garden Club is extremely pleased to welcome Elaine Marsh to present a program this month on the “Crooked River.” Elaine is the conservation director of the Friends of the Crooked River and project director at Ohio Greenways. Friends of the Crooked River was formed in 1990 to give a voice to the 100-mile length of the Cuyahoga River.

The group's purpose is to "educate the residents of Northeast Ohio to the value of this important watershed. We depend upon the Cuyahoga for our drinking water, wastewater disposal, agriculture, industry, shipping, recreation and wildlife habitat. Its far reaching impact on our lives should temper our view of the Crooked River with care, concern, and deep respect for all the Crooked River gives to us.”

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Volume 9, Issue 21, Posted 9:53 AM, 11.07.2017

Drivers urged to watch out for deer during breeding season

Deer breeding season begins in mid-October and runs through December. Male deer, or bucks, can often be found traveling together and marking their territory by scraping the ground or rubbing their antlers on trees. Eventually, increased testosterone and aggressiveness will force the bucks to separate and begin chasing does (female deer).

Whitetails are active around the clock, but less so during daylight hours. Most often, white-tailed deer are on the move at dawn and dusk. Their unpredictable behavior during breeding season can prove hazardous to humans and result in serious accidents.

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Volume 9, Issue 21, Posted 9:55 AM, 11.07.2017

Endangered salamander on view at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

A young Eastern Hellbender is now on display for children and families to discover and watch grow at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

The Eastern Hellbender, Ohio’s largest amphibian and North America’s largest salamander, is currently listed as an endangered species. Hellbenders are completely aquatic and spend their lives under large rocks in clean streams where they feed on crawfish and other aquatic organisms. Pollutants and runoff have caused increased sedimentation in breeding areas, resulting in poor water quality and low survival rates in young hellbenders. In fact, surveys over the past decade in Ohio have indicated over an 80 percent decline in the species.

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Volume 9, Issue 19, Posted 10:11 AM, 10.03.2017

6 fun and educational outdoor activities for young children

We can all agree that exposure to nature provides one of the most reliable boosts to mental and physical well-being, but do you know the great effects nature has on young children?

Our natural environment fosters children’s inherent need to move, touch and learn. Specifically, outdoor play is shown to enhance children’s sensory and social development, improve cooperation, reduce aggression, increase happiness and much more.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s Preschool Staff shares their favorite activities below to improve your child’s outdoor literacy while enjoying the final days of summer. Not only will being outside boost your child’s mood, but yours too!

Take a hike

In the forest, in your neighborhood or even in your own backyard, go for a slow and mindful walk. Show your child every little thing that catches your eye and notice everything that catches theirs. You don’t need to teach or talk too much, just be present and notice. The lesson will teach itself.

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Volume 9, Issue 17, Posted 9:42 AM, 09.06.2017

How to make the most of August’s solar eclipse in Northeast Ohio

On Monday, Aug. 21, Americans will witness nature’s most spectacular show — a total eclipse of the sun.

What is a solar eclipse? Well, the moon orbits Earth approximately every 27 days. A solar eclipse is the cosmic coincidence when the moon passes exactly between the Earth and the sun, thereby casting a shadow onto Earth and blocking our view of the sun.

Partial, total and annular eclipses can be viewed every so often depending on one’s geographic location on Earth, but next month will be the first time in 99 years that the United States will experience a coast-to-coast total solar eclipse. The path of the moon’s shadow, or where the eclipse reaches totality, will cover 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina. Unfortunately, the total solar eclipse will not be viewable in Northeast Ohio, but that doesn’t mean we will miss out on this celestial event.

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Volume 9, Issue 14, Posted 9:58 AM, 07.18.2017

Bay Village group works to protect urban forest

Bay Village is known for its beautiful trees, and the city’s tree commission is working to make sure it stays that way for generations to come.

Sixteen trees were planted at Reese Park by the city’s service department last month, and the Bay Village Tree Commission is currently planning a fall planting on Glen Park Drive.

The Bay Village Tree Commission, made up of five residents, along with City Arborist Mike Polinski and City Council Representative Dave Tadych, works with city officials to preserve, fortify and improve the town’s urban forest. Trees help our neighborhoods by soaking up storm water, lessening air pollution, shading our homes (reducing heating costs), improving home values, and providing a home for birds and wildlife.

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Volume 9, Issue 13, Posted 9:32 AM, 07.05.2017

Bay High students win state-level Army eCYBERMISSION

The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program has announced Bay High ninth-graders Khaled Hamil, Leo Cavalier and Nick LaRossa, the Alpha Team, as first-place Ohio state winners and regional semi-finalists in the 15th annual eCYBERMISSION competition – STEM initiative. The eCYBERMISSION, administered by the National Science Teachers Association, promotes self-discovery and enables students to recognize the real-life applications of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Last winter the Alpha Team worked to evaluate the environmental status of Cahoon Creek. The team looked at the nitrogen and phosphorus chemicals in the creek soil and water, and determined the canopy cover along its length. Further details can be found in previous articles by conducting a search for “Cahoon Creek" on

The team then submitted their write-up of the project to be evaluated and scored by volunteer virtual judges. One judge commented, “This project was extremely well done and I'm very impressed. I'm also thankful that you were able to identify some well qualified mentors to aid in your investigation. That is one of the most crucial aspects of a successful and in-depth investigation! Great job!!”

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 10:11 AM, 06.06.2017

Rehabilitated bald eagle soars back into the wild

After less than two weeks in captive care, a juvenile male bald eagle is free again thanks to the wildlife staff at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

The Center has performed wildlife rehabilitation as a free service to the public since its inception in 1945. The highly trained staff admits, assesses and treats 1,400 animals a year and over 100 species with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into the wild.

“When I began my career in wildlife rehabilitation 13 years ago, eagle populations were low in the state of Ohio. Today, we admit at least 1-2 eagles a year in need of human assistance,” said Amy LeMonds, Director of Wildlife at the Center.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 10:09 AM, 06.06.2017

DIS students learn the importance of trees

On Friday, April 28, Arbor Day, Westlake's fifth-grade students at Dover Intermediate School participated in a tree planting and award ceremony that was held at their school.

Led by Mayor Dennis Clough, Service Director Paul Quinn III, Urban Forestry Manager Stan Barnard, Tree Commission Chairperson Mary Beth Schneidler, and DIS Principal Alex Fleming, the students were invited to create posters depicting "Why trees are important to me!" Their posters were judged by Tree Commission members John Walz, Margie Rossander, Diane Morris, Justin Parks, Mary Beth Schneidler and Stan Barnard.

Over 70 posters were submitted with six winners being selected. The top posters were submitted by: Marisa Cutter, Aubrie Graber, Anastasia Boursinos, Alex Spring, Olivia Gentry and Ella Navratil. At the tree planting, each of the winners received a proclamation from the mayor along with a ribbon recognizing their achievement. All of the posters will be on display for one week at the Westlake Recreation Center beginning May 1.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:20 AM, 05.02.2017

Bay's waterways to get spring cleaning

Now in its 11th year, the Bay Village Waterways Cleanup Day, sponsored by The Bay Village Foundation, Bay High Project Earth Club, Bay Village Green Team and the Scouts, will be held on Saturday, May 27. All are welcome to meet at the Bay Middle School cafeteria to sign in before 11:00 a.m. Volunteers of all ages will go out in groups to clean up Bay's waterways and surrounding areas. Children should be accompanied by a parent or guardian or bring signed permission slip.

The city provides trash bags and gloves for use in picking up debris along Cahoon Creek, Columbia Park, Bay Boat Club, and other portions of the Lake Erie waterfront. The group works for more than two hours and finishes up back at the middle school where The Bay Village Foundation provides lunch.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 9:57 AM, 05.02.2017