ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Wildlife and Native Plants in Blendon Woods Park, Central Ohio

Updated on March 8, 2015
Blendon Woods supports a national Monarch BUtterfly Research Program.
Blendon Woods supports a national Monarch BUtterfly Research Program. | Source

State Parks Improvements 1970s - 2015

In the 1970s, many state parks in Ohio were small and sketchy, but good for annual year end school picnics. Rangers were always pleasant and helpful, even taking children on hikes to spot woodpeckers and owls as well as plants our Native Americans used in daily life. The parks were features in displays at the Ohio State Fair every summer, encouraging greater numbers of visitors.

By the 1990s, conservation became more of a political and personal goal among people and organizations in Ohio previously and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources began to further develop and expand the offerings in the parks. By the 2010s, the parks in Central Ohio alone are places where visitors may enjoy the quiet beauty and magnificence of nature that has been encouraged by government agencies and private organizations like the Audubon Society.

On a recent Friday evening during summer, I attended free events at one local state park and, compared to the status of the park twenty years previously, I scarcely recognized it. It was like the Land of Oz after leaving a dry Kansas dust storm.

A
Blendon Woods State Park, Ohio:
Blendon Woods Metropolitan Park, Columbus, OH 43230, USA

get directions

The park is actually a member of the Columbus city parks network, a forest inside the city.

Directions To Blendon Woods

Blendon Woods is located in Northeast Columbus off the east-and-west artery that is State Route 161; and approximately eight miles east of Westerville's main drag, State Route 3.

Rt. 161 used to be a two lane highway, but now is more powerful than many interstates and nearly always traffic clogged. I find it easier to head east on Morse Road and take a left on Cherry Bottom Road after passing Easton Shopping Mall and the I-270 overpass. Continue three miles on to the main entrance of Blendon Woods. Easy!

The "Back Way" to Blendon Woods

A
Morse Rd. and Cherry Bottom Rd., Columbus OH:
Morse Road & Cherry Bottom Road, Columbus, OH 43230, USA

get directions

Source

Wildlife Programs at Blendon Woods

I like Blendon Woods, because it includes a research program that helps the Monarch Butterfly without trespassing on the rights of other wildlife or businesses. The park is also a joy because staff and visitors are always friendly.

The park supports a Monarch Mansion that is open during regular park hours from June through September ach year. It is a screened gazebo outside the nature center, which has an observation deck and printed materials about the park and its wildlife. Outside the observation deck windows, you can see a 100-foot long mock-up of waterways within the park and native plant life you can expect to see on your walks and tram (trolley) tours.

The nature center has a large interactive map of migratory paths and plenty of pictures of waterfowl found in the park. Seating inside and outside is available for relaxing before or after a walk. Group tours also start from the nature center, which maintains large, clean restrooms and a park office with a small gift shop.

The Monarch Mansion contains free-flying butterflies raised inside Blendon Woods for release on Monarch Day every year. Children are taught to capture and tag Monarchs in the fields of Blendon Woods. Later in the day, they release the tagged insects to fly to Mexico in a yearly migration. Activities continue from 10:00 AM through 4:00 PM on the first Saturday in September. Call the InfoLine: 614.508.8000

Special programs about spiders and bees are offered to pre-schoolers, but parents often enjoy them as well.

Several species of endangered and protected wildlife call Blendon Woods home and are well cared for by park naturalists. A flock of 100 wild turkeys live in the woods and I feel fortunate to have seen two adults and several babies cross the road. One naturalist told my tram group that as he puts out feed for the turkeys, they draw near and gobble at him to hurry up.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Queen Anne's LaceGolden RodYellow Indian Grass
Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne's Lace | Source
Golden Rod
Golden Rod | Source
Yellow Indian Grass
Yellow Indian Grass | Source

Walden Waterfowl Refuge

After a walk, a tram tour took my group around the park and down to the waterfowl refuge. The lake was full of lotus plants, including the American lotus, which grows freely when the water levels of the lake become lowered. Around the edge of the lake we found a good birding area, where we saw ducks, inland gulls, and a Great Blue Heron.

Audubon Bird Hikes are offered around the year, for all ages and might be early on a Saturday morning or at any of several times of wekend days. During some months, a late-night full moon Owl Hike is offered.

A GPS Hike is a lot of fun, especailly for families. On some Sunday nights, hikers listen for insects. One long standing hike is one in which a naturalist helps hikers identify different species of trees, along with birds and other wildlife living in them.

Additional hikes focus on birding via photography and related projects include building birdhouses and learning about turkey history. Preschoolers have their own programs and some hikes are reserved for Senior Citizens.

Strange and wonderful milkweed.
Strange and wonderful milkweed. | Source

Native Plants Protected and Enjoyed in Ohio

Landscaping in the park is well done, with native flowers and grasses masses in central areas near parking lots, facility entrances, and cross-trail areas, as along the trails themselves. The evening I recently visited, I could smell sweetgrass (Indian grass) in the air. Another of the native plants in the park is the Indian Hemp, the bark of which can be stripped to make rope.

Purple Coneflowers and Gray-headed Coneflowers are lovely to see in these landscaped areas. Flea Bane is also present, and can repel fleas on dogs. Golden Rod is present in large quantities, but some people are allergic to it. Some Red and Black Raspberry plants can be found as well, but not nearly as many as in other parts of Ohio. Black-eyed Susans. Sunflowers, and Milkweed are also evident.

During the summer of 2013, a problem occurred that reduced the numbers of milkweed plants that grew around America, cutting down the Monarch Butterfly population, because that is where they lay their eggs. Naturalists asked ayone who fnd a Monarch Butterfly to bring it into the nature center during the summer of 2013.

One non-native plant in the park is Queen Anne's Lace, from which carrots were originally cultivated. I remember it gowing in the alleys and schoolyards of Columbus when I was a child and how it was interesting to see.

Blendon Woods is one place in the city where you can leave the city behind.

Purple Coneflowers
Purple Coneflowers | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      It's great to hear that the parks have come so far! I would love to visit some of them the next time I'm out that way. Thanks for the detailed information.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      I thought this was a very interesting article! You have provided some very insightful information regarding the Ohio State Parks Preserve Wildlife and Native Plants. Also, I loved all the images you have included. Thanks for sharing! -Rose

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      So glad I stopped today. All things of nature hold me enraptured. I love visiting state parks as there is so much to see and enjoy.

      The milkweed and Queen Ann's Lace are almost always magnificent.

      And a home for the Monarch too...you must have enjoyed this immensely. Thanks for taking me along on your visit.

      Angels are on the way to you today...Shared ps

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 

      5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      I am so pleased to learn about this wonderful park and its efforts towards helping Monarch butterflies. The photos are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this marvelous information ;) Pearl

      Voted Up+++ and pinned

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)