Theda Schleman, donor of the land that became Schleman Nature Preserve, and one of a circle of women who played pivotal roles in making Medina County Park District what it is today.

By John Gladden, Communications Coordinator

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we shine a spotlight on the historical impact of five women on Medina County Park District. Without a doubt, the parks and preserves we know today would look vastly different without their generosity, determination, and vision.

The story of Letha House (1880–1968) could be a Hollywood movie. Even better, it’s the subject of a fascinating 2004 biography by Medina historian Joann King: “Letha E. House: From Foundling to Philanthropist.” Letha came to Medina County as a foster child and her family history was somewhat of a mystery. Many years…


By John Gladden, Communications Coordinator

OK, first things first: It’s pronounced “possum,” not “oh-possum.” The first “o” is silent, like the “g” in “gnat” and the “k” in “knob.” Yet, opossums are not the same as possums.

Confused? Stay with us. It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

The Virginia opossum (a.k.a. the common opossum, as found in Ohio) is a cousin of the Australian possum, but they are two distinct animals. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial in the United States and Canada. Marsupials are animals that carry their young in a pouch. Like us, opossums have opposable…


The former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park property will see the removal of approximately 25,000 square yards (5.17 acres) of asphalt and concrete that’s in poor condition and contributes to water runoff into the lake. The project includes invasive species control and restoration of more than 20 acres of wetlands.

COLUMBUS, OHIO — As part of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio
initiative
, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)
announced on Jan. 20, 2021, that it will partner with the Medina County Park District to help eliminate toxic algal blooms in Chippewa Lake, Ohio’s
largest glacial lake.

“Through this new partnership, the Chippewa Lake Wetland Restoration
Project will restore more than 20 acres of wetlands in Medina County,
including the site of the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park,” said
Governor DeWine. …


Chippewa Inlet Trail North barn / Photo by Nick Hoeller Photography

More than $1 million in funding from the State of Ohio’s 2021–22 capital budget will provide a major shot in the arm for two Medina County landmarks.

Medina County Park District has received $750,000 to assist with the purchase of the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park — a 95-acre historic site acquired by the park district on June 15 for $2.1 million. A Northeast Ohio cultural icon, the amusement park operated from 1878 to 1978 on the shores of Ohio’s largest natural inland lake. …


Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park photo by Nichole Schill

By Nichole Schill, Naturalist

Parks are places we can go to stretch our legs and recharge our spirits — but they’re also living, outdoor classrooms where we can see and learn new things. An important aspect of Medina County Park District’s mission is to model nature-friendly landscaping ideas almost any property owner can put into practice.

In 2014, the park district was awarded a $2,500 grant from the Ohio Environmental Education Fund to install a small native planting and a series of educational panels at Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park. This park is ideally situated on the continental divide that separates…


By John Gladden, Communications Coordinator

It’s telling that among Medina County Park District’s first three parks to open to the public were a former gravel pit (Green Leaf Park in 1972) and a former township landfill (Plum Creek Park in 1980).

It was as if to say to this upstart park system: “Hey, we’ve got this land … it’s got a few issues … it’s not good for much else. Why not see what you can do with it?”

The fact the park district took on those challenges is a testament to the fearlessness and dedication of park commissioners, staff…


Adult spicebush swallowtail butterfly / Photo by Bill Stitt

By Shelley Tender, Interpretive Services Manager

Our Ohio landscape is graced by the presence of six different species of swallowtail butterflies. These delicate, beautifully decorated creatures belong to the family of butterflies known as Papilionidae, which contains more than 550 species worldwide. The majority of these large lovelies are tropical, but every continent except Antarctica is fortunate to have several representative species.

In my opinion, the spicebush swallowtail butterfly (Papilio troilus) is one of Ohio’s most beautiful and interesting swallowtails. …


A “snag” tree at Hubbard Valley Park / Photo by John Gladden

By John Gladden, Communications Coordinator

We don’t like cutting down trees. Our mission is to keep the trees in the parks healthy and to plant more — in fact, Medina County Park District plants thousands of trees every year. But sometimes, when there’s a dead or dying tree within striking distance of a trail or shelter, it has to come down for safety reasons. That’s especially been the case with ash trees, which have been decimated by a hungry, invasive little insect called the emerald ash borer.

When a tree has to be cut down, park visitors often ask why…


House wren eggs / Photo by Shelley Tender

By Shelley Tender, Interpretive Services Manager

House wrens are secondary cavity nesters — meaning they don’t excavate their own cavities, but instead make their homes in naturally occurring hollow spaces or those made and abandoned by other species.

Like the familiar eastern bluebird, house wrens will utilize man-made nest boxes for nest sites. While nest-building, the male is especially hardworking as he crams sticks into the cavity to fill the entire space. In fact, he will select several potential nest locations in which to do this, then wait for the female to choose her preferred location.


Carolina wren / Photo by Natalie Dubiel

By Natalie Dubiel, Naturalist

In what has been coined as “these unprecedented times,” it can be challenging to find a place of normalcy or to accept this as our new normal. Finding outlets for relief of stress, anxiety, and general cabin fever can be a struggle. It would be hard to imagine that this is not part of the reason park usage has increased by more than 100 percent over the last several weeks. Besides the fact that parks remain an open place where we can go, outside of our homes, I wonder if perhaps the reason for this spike…

Medina County Park District

Connecting people with nature at 18 public parks, trails and preserves. More at www.MedinaCountyParks.com.

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