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Enjoy Easter egg hunts and wildflower walks in April

By MATT ROCHE Reflector News Editor mroche@norwalkreflector.com • Mar 29, 2017 at 6:00 PM

April is an exciting time in Ohio! The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) offers events around Ohio at our state parks and state nature preserves for people to enjoy as we step into spring.

Fun events in April include several Easter egg hunts for kids as well as wildflower and bird walks.

Whipple Wildflower Walk at Shawnee State Park - Discover one of the area’s most colorful displays on this amazing walk through a state nature preserve where wildflowers blanket the earth among dolomite rock cliffs with breathtaking views of the Ohio River. This is a moderate 2-mile loop. Pack a lunch, dress in layers and wear sturdy hiking boots. Meet at the lodge lobby on Saturday, April 1, at 9 a.m., the event will last until 11 a.m.

Snakes Alive at Mohican State Park - Meet a few of our resident snakes and discover what makes them a reptile and why they are beneficial for the environment. Meet at the Mohican Lodge lobby at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 1.

Spring into Fitness Trail Run at Eagle Creek State Nature Preserve – Grab the running shoes or boots as we experience the preserve in a totally unique and healthy way from 10-12 p.m. on Saturday, April 1. Dress according to the weather. The goal of this event is to combine fitness with the serenity of nature. The trails at Eagle Creek are semi-unimproved (mostly bare soil) and will afford a moderate challenge when running. Total distance will be approximately 3 miles. For more information, call 330-527-5118.

Early Birds Hike at Mohican State Park - The early bird gets the worm! Join us for a hike on Sunday, April 2, at 10 a.m. to find waterfowl, songbirds, hawks or anything moving. Dress for the weather. Hike is easy to moderate in difficulty. Bring binoculars if you have them. Meet at the Mohican lodge lobby.

Mammals at Lake Hope State Park - Stop by the lobby of the Lake Hope dining lodge on Sunday, April 2, from 10 a.m.-noon to see the naturalist's collection of mammal skins, skulls and scat.

Cincinnati Invitational High School Regatta at East Fork State Park - This huge rowing invitational on Saturday, April 8, draws dozens of teams, and the event is held at the main beach at 3294 Elklick Road Bethel, 45106. Use caution while driving in the park, due to many spectators, rowers and boats.

Children’s Fishing Derby at Punderson State Park - The Friends of Punderson State Park are sponsoring this children's fishing derby on Saturday, April 8, which starts with check-in at 8 a.m. and poles down at 11:30 a.m. Limited to 80 participants. For more information and the online registration form, which will be active starting on April 1, go to friendsofpunderson.com/2017-kids-fishing-derby. People can also call the park office at 330-637-2856 for other registration options.

Bird Walk at Lake Hope State Park - Join the naturalist on a 2-mile Bird Walk at Lake Hope State Park on Saturday, April 8, from 9-11 a.m. through different habitats in search of early spring migrants. Some binoculars will be provided. Meet at the Hope School House. Weather appropriate clothing is recommended. For questions, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.

Vernal Pools at Mohican State Park - Vernal means spring, and spring is a busy time for most wildlife in Ohio -- especially for amphibians such as frogs and salamanders. Carefully we will poke around and investigate the vernal pools at Mohican State Park on Saturday, April 8, at 10 a.m. Meet at the Hemlock Gorge Trailhead located in the A camp area off State Route 3 south of Loudonville; follow signs for "Naturalist Program."

Cement Disc Golf Event at Mosquito Lake State Park – The Squirrel Run Disc Golf Course was recently expanded to 18 holes and has a new pavilion and restrooms. This tournament on Sunday, April 9, is to raise funds for creating cement pads at the tees on the disc golf course. People are encouraged to come and try the new layout! Play begins at 10 a.m. with registration from 9:15-9:45 a.m. A $10 donation is requested. The project will proceed as soon as funds are obtained.

Turtle Sunday at Mohican State Park - Learn about turtles that live around Ohio on Sunday, April 9. Meet a few resident turtles, discover what makes them a reptile and how to help them survive. Meet at the Mohican lodge lobby at 10 a.m.

Wildflower Walk at Lake Hope State Park - Discover which blooms are emerging from the forest floor on this 2-mile walk on Sunday, April 9, from 1-2:30 p.m. Meet at Hope Furnace. People should wear weather appropriate clothing, and sturdy waterproof shoes are recommended. For questions, call the nature center at 740-596-3030.

Sounds of Spring Night Hike at Mohican State Park - Enjoy a nocturnal experience listening to the sounds of spring on Friday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. Meet at the Hemlock Gorge Trailhead located at the back of Camp area A off State Route 3 south of Loudonville; follow the signs for "Naturalist Program." This is an easy hike, but the trail may be muddy. No need for flashlights or glow sticks.

Birding in the Bog at Cooperrider-Kent Bog - Ring in the spring migration of neo-tropical migrants as well as our year-round bird friends from 7:30-10 a.m. on Saturday, April 15. For more information, call 330-527-5118.

Green-Up Day at Cowan State Park - Come help volunteers get the park ready for the upcoming camping season on Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m.-noon. Meet at the campground shelter. Call 937-382-1096 for more information.

Easter Egg Hunt at Van Buren State Park – Join us at Van Buren State Park on Saturday, April 15, for a fun Easter egg hunt. Children ages 12 and under may bring a basket to collect eggs. The times for collecting eggs are as follows: children ages 10-12 at 10 a.m., children ages 7-9 at 10:15 a.m., children ages 4-6 at 10:30 a.m. and children ages 1-3 at 10:45 a.m.

Easter Egg Hunt at Lake Hope State Park - Stop by the nature center on Saturday, April 15, from 1-2 p.m. for a fun filled afternoon of Easter egg hunting on the grounds surrounding the nature center. Kids will find candy-filled eggs as well as tokens to win a prize at the prize table.

Wildflower Hike at Hueston Woods State Park - Meet at the nature center for a relaxing hike through the woods to look for spring wildflowers on Saturday, April 15, from 2-3:30 p.m. Wear appropriate footwear. Bring your vehicle; we will drive to the trailhead. Call 513-524-4250 with any questions.

Easter Egg Hunt at East Harbor State Park - Join us for our fifth annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 15, at 2 p.m. in front of the campground office. Bring the kids and grandkids, and be part of a fun family-oriented activity. Get a jump on spring and consider camping with us!

Spring Woodcock Walk at Maumee Bay State Park - Meet at the campground office at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, 22 and 29. Witness the spectacular courtship flight of the “Timberdoodle,” also known as the American woodcock. Call 419-836-9117 as this program is weather dependent.

Lyons Falls Wildflower Walk at Mohican State Park - In addition to towering trees and ferns galore, Mohican State Park is known for wildflowers. Each turn of the trail brings an amazing site to behold or secret to discover. Like old friends or new finds, we are sure to have a joyful nature experience. Meet at the Hemlock Grove Picnic Area located by the covered bridge on Sunday, April 16, at 10 a.m.

For more information about events, go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/calendar and naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/calendar.

Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. The new Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process. Participants can log their miles, share their photos and create friends groups on the Explore Ohio website at ExploreOh.com. Whether people are running, hiking, biking, climbing, walking or paddling, Ohioans can keep track of their progress at ExploreOh.com and share their adventures on social media using #ExploreOhio. After reaching 100 combined miles of activity on the site, each registered user will receive an email with a certificate good for 15 percent off camping at any Ohio State Park.

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