• Kendall Hills in summer bloom by Jeffrey Gibson

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Search for Missing Woman Hillary K. Sharma Continues in Park, 8-26-2014

    Paddlers on the Cuyahoga R. are asked to report any out-of-the-ordinary items that they might see along the river between the Village of Boston and Station Rd in Brecksville. Sharma is 5’3”, 120 lbs, br hair/eyes. Have info? Call 440-546-5945. More »

  • Towpath Trail Closure

    Towpath Trail is closed from Mustill Store to Memorial Parkway for riverbank reinforcement. Detours posted. Closure will last 1 - 4 weeks into August. More »

  • Other Closures

    Valley Bridle Trail south of SR 303, across from golf course, is collapsed by river. Hard closure. Plateau Trail Bridge, north of Valley Picnic Area is closed. No detours. Plateau & Oak Hill trails are open. More »

  • Riverview Road Repaving

    Riverview Rd is being repaved from the Cuyahoga-Summit Cty line to Peninsula through Mon, 9/15. Road is open but there are still delays due to construction. Allow extra time. More »

Turning a Backyard into a Wildlife Habitat

By Volunteer Sustainability Reporter Emily Bryant

At Cuyahoga Valley National Park, rangers know it is important to lead by example when teaching others about the environment and sustainability. Arrye Rosser, Interpretive and Education Specialist, is one such individual. Rosser has made many little adaptations to her home and garden that have had a positive impact on surrounding wildlife
 
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Arrye's backyard bee hives.

©Arrye rosser

There are many simple and attractive ways for homeowners to turn their property into a more sustainable and appealing sanctuary for nature. “Start out with what interests you and what you are excited about. For me, this is bees, birds, and butterflies. It’s fun to do backyard wildlife projects because through participating, you meet others with similar interests,” Rosser states. For example, Rosser and her family are beekeepers with three backyard hives. They regularly swap advice with other local beekeepers and the hobby has been a great conversation starter with neighbors, helping the family feel more connected to their community.

 
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Brush pile and bird houses

© arrye rosser

Other environmentally friendly features at Rosser’s suburban house include a bird feeding station, bird houses, many flowering plants and shrubs, nut trees, a small food garden, brush piles, a rain barrel, and a compost bin. Mud Brook flows along her one-acre property, so she created a wider border of native plants to protect the stream, a tributary of the Cuyahoga River.

People passing by may notice the Certified Wildlife Habitat sign at the foot of her driveway. Qualifications for a certified habitat include sustainable yard practices (e.g., minimal use of pesticides and fertilizers) as well as providing wildlife with food, water, cover, and shelter for raising young. The application process through the National Wildlife Federation is relatively easy and inexpensive.

 

People passing by may notice the Certified Wildlife Habitat sign at the foot of her driveway. Qualifications for a certified habitat include sustainable yard practices (e.g., minimal use of pesticides and fertilizers) as well as providing wildlife with food, water, cover, and shelter for raising young. The application process through the National Wildlife Federation is relatively easy and inexpensive.

 

Rosser has reaped many benefits from the changes she has made to her yard. The natural vegetation and rain barrel help prevent flooding and protect water quality in Mud Brook by slowing and filtering storm water. The native plants, like sumac and goldenrod, attract more wildlife to her house and lessen the amount of grass to mow. Rosser also enjoys learning about bees and other pollinators, invasive plants, and backyard birds, and involving her family in backyard projects.

 

While students are studying more about conservation and sustainability in school, Rosser feels that nature’s most valuable lessons come from being outdoors. “Kids aren’t experiencing the natural world as much as in previous generations. They may have more of an intellectual connection to nature, but not a lot of hands-on time. Families should really consider creating backyard habitats. It’s a satisfying way to improve and stay connected to the environment.”

 

Last year, Rosser and her family began participating in Project FeederWatch, a Citizen Science program of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. During the study period, they watch their feeders on set days and record the number and variety of birds. The experience has made Rosser more aware of how birds use her yard. For example, birds love the scrubby bushes that Rosser once considered removing. In summer, the family enjoys watching adult birds bring their fledglings to the feeders. If the birds succeed in raising their young, Rosser knows that her backyard is doing a good job in meeting their needs.

 

As an environmental educator, Rosser knows the importance of sharing wildlife with children. “With all the negative news out there about the environment, it is important for children to know that the future can be positive if we make good choices. We need to encourage people to think about their yards as homes not just for themselves, but for native plants and animals,” Rosser explained.

Her upcoming goals for her yard include making amphibian shelters with elevated wood and rocks, and planting milkweed for monarch butterflies.

 

Get Involved

·Learn how to make your yard a certified wildlife habitat.

·Attend a rain barrel-making workshop. Check with your local Soil and Water Conservation District if one will be in your area.

·Participate in Project FeederWatch.

·Reduce the size of your lawn. If you add more plants of different heights to your backyard, you will create more places for different animals to live.

·Help pollinating insects by planting milkweed and other flowering plants. Native ones are best.

Did You Know?

Photo of Bald Eagle taken in Cuyahoga Valley National Park where an eagle pair built their first nest in 2006. Photo by Martin Trimmer.

November is the time to be on the lookout for bald eagles performing aerial courtship displays. Once eagles have selected each other, they plunge through the air in very high dives, locking their talons and breaking apart just when it looks as though they will crash to the ground.