Venture: Nature Notes

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Paddle Purveyors

Springtime means many things in Central Ohio - songbirds and sunshine, to name a few. It also signals the return of weekly kayak demos hosted by Clintonville Outfitters.

Every Wednesday at 7 p.m., owner Jonathan Barth and staff bring their boats to a local waterway so customers can try before they buy. Comfort, fishing and sport models will be on hand.

In the past, staff primarily stuck to an overlooked stretch of the Olentangy River behind the store. This year, they'll be heading to Northmoor Park, Griggs Reservoir and Hoover Reservoir, among other locations.

All these aquatic spots are perfect for novice paddlers. If you're looking to buy a boat, don't miss out.


Mustard Mess

Garlic mustard grows everywhere, spreads wildly and has destroyed delicate habitat across the state. Of all invasive species, this one ranks at the top of Ohio's most-wanted list.

Even places as remote as the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System have been affected, but naturalists at this necklace of southern Ohio parks are fighting back.

"What is at stake?" preserve founder Nancy Stranahan asked in a recent newsletter. "Nothing less than our native wildflowers and the forest floor'sextensivebiodiversity."

To thwart this leafy, ruthless villain, groups will be plucking out garlic mustard at four preserves daily through Sunday, May 9. Work days start at 9:30 a.m. You won't need a botany degree - just a pair of gloves.


Birding's Big Day

Are you ready for this Saturday, the biggest birding day of the year?

OK, you probably had no idea.

Still, the weeks around International Migratory Bird Day, held annually on the second Saturday in May, are a great time to start watching. Conservation groups lead trips. Preserves host welcome events for novices. Local trees are more colorful than usual.

One great event will be the Columbus Audubon field trip from Worthington to Oak Harbor on Saturday, May 15. The group will try to see 100 species in a single day.


Campus Corner

A new farmers market set to launch May 27 will bring fresh, local produce to Campus.

Sponsored by the Wexner Center and Wayward Seed Farm, the Market at 15th & High will be held 4-7 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 28. Food and other items from about 12 farmers will be offered.


Trail Talk

Two leading outdoor adventurers will bring the pages of Backpacker magazine to life on Tuesday, May 18, during a local stop on the Get Out More Tour.

Pros Sheri and Randy Propster will deliver an hour-long seminar at 7 p.m. at Thompson Park in Upper Arlington. Sponsored by The Outdoor Source and numerous top-shelf equipment companies, the talk will cover gear reviews, trail tips and skill development.

Should be an awesome, informative time.


Outdoor Tip of the Month

Rain barrels have become a popular way to divert roof runoff from streams and reduce water costs accrued by gardens and lawns. The big drawback is the potential for mosquitoes, which breed in standing water. Your barrel should have a screen over the top opening. If that's not enough, try adding a few goldfish in the barrel. They eat mosquito larvae and fertilize the water. Just make sure the tank never runs dry.