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Check out this awesome video of the Chalet Toboggan Chutes from +Zebulon Thomas!! 
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I so need to get here-I'm originally from Northern Minnesota, and I miss sliding!
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WHAT is the world THIS. Nature's BATTLE CLUB? We found this incredibly bizarre and Medieval flail (google "flail") thing attached to a Pin Oak tree. This is the home of a young type of wasp - a strange thing called a Gall. There are a variety of gall-forming species of small wasps that commonly infest oak trees. This one is made by the Horned Oak Gall Wasp, a tiny harmless insect that you would almost never notice because of its size. Galls are abnormal plant growths or swellings made of plant tissue, found on leaves or twigs. These unusual deformities are caused by the plant or tree's chemicals, or stimuli produced by an insect. The chemicals produced by the insect interfere with normal plant cell growth and bulge to create a totally weird rounded globe or growth on a leaf or twig. In this gall lives the young wasp. Most galls are round and smooth. The Horned Oak Gall Wasp makes a gall that looks like the most dangerous 3-inch-sized home you've ever seen. (jb)
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Mallard ducks are strong fliers. Some may fly as fast as 55 mph! Photo credit: Jim Kaftan. (MK)
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60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Cleveland's profile photoMike Johnson's profile photo
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I didn't know that! 
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Looking for something fun for the kids during winter break? Then sign them up for our "Kids in the Woods" program. 

1/3 (ages 7-8) or 1/4 (ages 9-10) 
9am-3pm
Look About Lodge, South Chagrin Reservation (Bentleyville)

The kids will love exploring the winter woods with a naturalist. Children should fress to be outside for most of the program. Bring a lunch. 

Registration is required. Call 440-247-7075 for more information to register.
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++ 1. ok
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Have you ever wondered about the strange script-like grooves on fallen logs? You are actually viewing the childhood home of bark beetles. By examining their tunnels, you can piece together a bark beetle’s entire life cycle.

Bark beetles usually overwinter beneath the bark of dead or weakened trees. When the weather warms, the female beetle emits pheromones (chemicals that act like an attractive perfume) to catch the attention of a male. Once they mate, the female will excavate tunnels called “egg galleries” where--you guessed it--she will lay her eggs. Look for a big central groove from which other smaller tunnels branch.

The eggs will hatch into larvae called grubs. They resemble small, white, legless worms, and they have one mission: EATING! They eat the nutritional part of the tree beneath the bark. Look for tiny grooves that branch from the egg gallery. Follow these larval tunnels and notice how they get wider as the grub grew. 

The grubs eat until they are ready to undergo metamorphosis (change) into an adult. This pre-adult stage is known as the pupa. This is where the grubs will develop legs, wings, antennae, and all the parts adult beetles have.
Look for small holes in the log. What you see is the exit hole when the adult beetle emerges from beneath the bark. You have just witnessed the evidence of a beetle life cycle! With that messy bark beetle cursive, it’s easy to see why they have earned the nickname “engraver beetles.”
(SV)
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We are working with Zebulon Thomas Films on a brand new video about our trails and "Trails United" fund. 

The project is almost complete! But, until then....check out this awesome teaser:
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Huge thanks to Brian and CAMBA and all involved!
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Goals are sometimes best achieved when you take a moment to step back and evaluate the whole picture; however, today, you don’t have that luxury. See if you can guess what this is a picture of. The answer will be posted later today. (RN)
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Apparently it is too tough today! It is a “snowshoe crampon.” Consider making snowshoeing a goal for you this winter: http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Recreation/17.aspx (RN)
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There have been a lot of questions about coyotes recently. Here is program to help answer some of your questions: 

"Curious About Coyotes" 
Sunday, January 13 @ 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Garfield Park Nature Center

Garfield Park Reservation now has signs informing hikers that coyotes can be seen within the park! In this short session, you will receive some basic information and have an opportunity to ask questions about coyotes. 

Call 216-341-3152 or visit http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/EventsProgramsCalendar/Curious-about-Coyotes-445.aspx for more information.
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Coyotes are very common in Northern Minnesota, where I'm originally from, and it's very common to see them strolling through one's yard. Not to mention the timber wolves...
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FAST and Furious! Smaller than a Peregrine Falcon, but ounce for ounce just as powerful, Merlins are rare winter residents of the Cleveland region. Cleveland Metroparks hosts between 4 and 5 (only) wintering Merlins each year. Garfield Park Reservation's wintering Merlins are long-time celebrities, having returned every winter for the past 10+ years (male in photo). They can often be seen during the day, between Garfield Park Reservation and Calvary Cemetery across the street (Broadway Ave), "teed up" high on top of trees searching for small bird prey. While the infamous Peregrine Falcon has broken top record speeds of 200 mph in an aerial dive, Merlins can easily surpass 100 mph. (photo and text by jb).
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216-635-3200
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4101 Fulton Parkway Cleveland OH, 44144
Story
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Discover, Enjoy, Protect!
Introduction
Cleveland Metroparks will conserve significant natural resources and enhance people's lives by providing safe, high-quality outdoor education, recreation, and zoological opportunities. Enjoy over 23,000 plus acres, 18 Reservations, 7 Nature & Education Centers, 8 golf courses, and hundreds of miles of trails throughout the "Emerald Necklace.

The oldest park district in Ohio, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District was born in 1917, the initiative of a young, self-taught engineer who had conceived the idea of an outer chain of parks with connecting boulevards some 12 years earlier. William Stinchcomb's genius was to anticipate the future need for open space at a time when Cuyahoga County outside of Cleveland was still largely rural. From a few scattered donations of land in the Rocky River Valley, the Park District grew to embrace some of the most scenic areas of Greater Cleveland.  

Stinchcomb first suggested his idea in 1905 and repeated his plea in 1909. Cleveland, which was then the nation's sixth largest city, finally formed a park board in 1912 following an act by the Ohio Senate. In April 1912, West Side brewer Leonard Schlather offered to donate approximately three acres of bottom land in the Rocky River Valley.

But, there was a problem. Although the park board had the power to receive gifts of land and property, it had no money of its own and no authority to raise money by bonds or taxation. The park board remained basically dormant for several years.

State law changed in 1915, allowing the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to appropriate money to the park board and in 1916 the first funds were received. Stinchcomb, who had been elected Cuyahoga County engineer, stayed involved in the project as a consulting engineer and developed the "Proposed Cuyahoga County Park and Boulevard System." The plan showed a continuous parkway encircling Cuyahoga County, threading its way through the Rocky River, Big Creek, Chippewa Creek, Tinkers Creek, Chagrin River and Euclid Creek valleys, and connecting, in two places, with the existing city of Cleveland park system.

In March 1917, the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill providing for "the conservation of natural resources by the creation, development and improvement of park districts."   On June 30, 1917, the Board of Trustees of Euclid Township petitioned the Probate Judge of Cuyahoga County for the creation of the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District.   In July, a new park board was appointed and then met for the first time on July 30, 1917.   Stinchcomb stayed on as a consultant without compensation.

From its inception through the 1920s, the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Board concentrated its efforts on assembling parkland. The Park District materially took shape during its first decade.   In 1920, the Park District held title to just 109 acres of land in Rocky River and Big Creek; by 1930, it had acquired at a cost of $3.9 million, 9,000 acres in nine large, unconnected reservations:   Rocky River, Huntington, Big Creek, Hinckley, Brecksville, Bedford, South Chagrin, North Chagrin and Euclid Creek.

The next step, connecting the reservations, would be tackled in years to come.