Colors are coming to the MetroparksWritten by Scott Carpenter | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s no better time than autumn to be outdoors. The scenery changes by the day and summer’s harsh heat gives way to crisp mornings and crunchy leaves.
Too early to talk about fall? Not at all.
“Nature is not waiting for some special date on a calendar,” said Mark Plessner, a Metroparks naturalist, writing on the Nature Now blog on MetroparksToledo.com.
Signs of fall, he said, are everywhere: “Buckeye trees have lost many of their leaves. Cottonwood leaves have also started to fall. Robins are forming large groups as they begin their annual migration. There are many more signs, almost too many to mention.”
Another sign that fall is here: The Metroparks Autumn Adventure fall walking program is now under way. Hikers are invited to walk eight trails on their own or during a scheduled program. More than a dozen, guided walks in various Metroparks are planned to help participants complete their trails.
A Walking Record, available at each of the Metroparks and online, is a journal to keep track of trails you have hiked. The first 150 people to complete the trails and turn in their Walking Record by Nov. 7 will receive a long-sleeve T-shirt featuring this year’s unique, colorful artwork designed by Metroparks graphic designer Jesse Mireles. The shirts are also available for purchase.
The following are this year’s designated Autumn Adventure Trails, chosen to take walkers to some of the best fall color to be found in the area.
- Farnsworth Metropark: Towpath (Brown). Hike from the Boat Launch Area to Bend View and back (4.4 miles round trip. Walk or bike.
- Oak Openings Preserve Metropark: Ferns and Lakes (Blue) Trail, 2.9 miles.
- Pearson Metropark: Black Swamp (Orange) Trail, 1.3 miles.
- Providence Metropark: River Bluff (Orange) Trail, 2.7 miles.
- Secor Metropark: Forest Dune (Silver) Trail, 1.3 miles.
- Side Cut Metropark: Canal Locks (Blue) Trail, 0.5 miles.
- Swan Creek Preserve Metropark: Floodplain (Green) Trail, 0.6 miles.
- Wildwood Preserve Metropark: Floodplain (Blue) Trail, 1.4 miles.
- University/Parks Trail, 6.6 miles, University of Toledo to King Road in Sylvania (connector at Wildwood). Walk or bike.
For details or to download a walking record, see “What To Do” at Metroparks Toledo.com.
Photographing fall color is another popular activity. Art Weber, director of nature photography for Metroparks, advises shutterbugs to “be different. Perspective can make an average photo outstanding. Get low and shoot high; get high up and shoot down. Include wildlife in your scenes — insects, birds, mammals — to add interest.”
Here’s another tip: “Look at a leaf in a new way. Let a part represent the whole. Photograph with a super-wide lens that allows you to record a leaf so it appears large in the foreground, yet shows a wide background that can illustrate a large patch of color.”
For inspiration, there’s a new exhibit of Weber’s autumn photographs at the National Center for Nature Photography at Secor Metropark, where he also teaches workshops. An exhibit by local photographer Howard Burkert also shares the gallery, along with images by members of local camera clubs. The exhibit is one of four on display through October. Admission is free.
For more fall photo tips and details about upcoming exhibits, workshops and contests, go to NaturePhotoCenter.com.
Scott Carpenter is director of public relations for Metroparks of the Toledo Area.