Venture: Nature Notes

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Trees company

Three environmental groups will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in style by planting 10,000 trees around Columbus Saturday-Sunday, April 17-18.

Buckeye Forest Council, Rainforest Action Network and Green Columbus are hoping to commemorate past environmental achievements and push things forward with an extensive campaign titled Earth Day 2010: The Update.

"We're pretty proud of what we did last year," said Tad Dritz, director of Green Columbus. "We're thinking bigger and better this year. The big goal is 10,000 volunteers. I think it's a goal that we can make happen if we work together."

If planting trees isn't your thing, you can sign up to work at one of hundreds of worksites across Central Ohio. Volunteers also will be cleaning up rivers, removing invasive species and planting gardens during the two work days.

Those who need manpower can register their project at the campaign website until April 10.

A free party will be held from 3-10 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at Franklin Park Conservatory. The zero-waste event will include live music, improv comedy and booths for environmental products and services.


Wet and wild

Paddling has become one of the fastest-growing outdoor hobbies in the state, with canoe and kayak registrations up 43 percent since 2003. Camping and biking also have picked up steam during the past several years, as Ohioans look to relax locally.

All three adventure pursuits will be covered during PaddlePalooza!, an outdoor expo running Friday-Saturday, April 30-May 1, at the Lausche Building at the Ohio Expo Center.

Tickets cost $10, with coupons available at select local outdoor retailers. The show runs 4-8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday.


Ohio ecology

The Ohio Environmental Council will take adventurers into some of the state's most treasured natural spaces during its Real Ohio Tour, a handful of hands-on encounters this spring and summer.

One highlight of the five-event series will be Vernal Pool Exploration, held at 7 p.m. Friday, April 23, at Hoover Meadows Nature Preserve in Galena. There you'll search for salamanders, fairy shrimp and other wetland creatures.

Also on tap is a walkabout through Tallgrass Prairie in Fredericktown at 10:30 a.m. July 31. Scenic ponds, wildflowers and birds will be the primary quarry.

Led by naturalist experts, tours are free for members and cost $25 for non-members. Reservations are required.


Outdoor Tip of the Month

As fishermen flock to rivers for annual runs across the state, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources offered a few tips for wading safely.

Always cross a river facing upstream without crossing your steps, and boots with a felt sole can add traction on mossy rocks. You should wear a cinch belt on chest-high waders, don a life vest or flotation device, and carry a walking stick for balance.

Never wear waders if you're on a boat, because they'll fill quickly if you fall in. Always wade with a buddy.


New on the Ohio Adventure Map: Great Miami Outfitters

If you're adventuring in Dayton and forgot a crucial piece of gear, look no further than Great Miami Outfitters. This independent, family-owned shop in Miamisburg is just a short drive from the Twin Valley Trail and several of the Gem City's other outdoor draws.

The store sells everything you need for backpacking, hiking, camping, paddling and more. They've got major purchases from big brands - and helpful gadgets you never knew were out there.

Owners know the local terrain and what you need to conquer it at every skill level. Staff was super helpful, and gear was reasonably priced.