Event of­fers in­ter­pre­tive walks, warm food, mu­sic

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Betsy Scott [email protected]­ @Re­porterBetsy on Twit­ter

To some, Lake Metroparks’ Win­ter Hike may be just an­other walk in the park.

To Bill Fisher, it’s more than that. He’s been bring­ing his daugh­ters, Sarah, 13, and Noelle, 8, to the event at Pen­i­ten­tiary Glen Reser­va­tion for the last sev­eral years. This year’s hike took place Feb. 10, be­gin­ning at 1 p.m.

“It’s fun just to get some daddy-daugh­ter time,” said the Kirtland res­i­dent, as he and the girls en­joyed hot soup, bread and live acous­tic mu­sic at the Na­ture Cen­ter af­ter a mile-long, in­ter­pre­tive trek. “It’s kind of unique what they do here, getting out and learn­ing about na­ture.”

“If it weren’t for this, I’d be home do­ing home­work and she’d be watch­ing TV,” said Sarah, mo­tion­ing to­ward her sib­ling, who was now on her feet mov­ing to the mu­sic.

Bill noted that he took Sarah’s cell phone away for the du­ra­tion of the hike.

“She can’t have it un­til it’s over,” he said.

“We started do­ing the win­ter hike to get peo­ple to come out­doors in the win­ter.” — In­ter­pre­tive Nat­u­ral­ist Am­ber Walde.

The Fish­ers were among a hand­ful of fam­i­lies who opted for the shorter, less­chal­leng­ing of the hikes of­fered. The meal, plus hot tea and cho­co­late, and s’mores around a camp­fire, helped to warm the chilled walk­ers.

Cost was $7 per per­son and in­cluded a hike patch with the com­mem­o­ra­tive year. The event was be­gun a decade ago.

“We started do­ing the win­ter hike to get peo­ple to come out­doors in the win­ter,” said In­ter­pre­tive Nat­u­ral­ist Am­ber Walde. “Whether there’s snow or no snow, they still can en­joy na­ture in win­ter.”

The guided hikes in­cluded stops along the way to learn from nat­u­ral­ists about the var­i­ous types of habi­tats at Pen­i­ten­tiary Glen, and the plants and an­i­mals that call them home. A high­light was a sta­tion fea­tur­ing Hem­lock the owl, one of the “am­bas­sador” an­i­mals that live at the Kevin P. Clin­ton Wildlife Cen­ter.

Noelle said her fa­vorite part was “prob­a­bly just walk­ing and learn­ing about the stuff,” such as the an­i­mals of each habi­tat.

Sarah said she en­joys the ex­er­cise and, at times, meet­ing new friends on the hikes.

Bill is hope­ful his daugh­ters will carry on the tra­di­tion with their own fam­i­lies some day.

While this is the only win­ter hik­ing event held at Pen­i­ten­tiary Glen, there are sev­eral nat­u­ral­ist-led hik­ing pro­grams through­out the year within Lake Metroparks.


Vis­i­tors of all ages en­joyed the out­doors dur­ing Lake Metroparks’ Win­ter Hike Feb. 10 at Pen­i­ten­tiary Glen.


Win­ter Hike par­tic­i­pants warmed up with a hot meal at Pen­i­ten­tiary Glen Na­ture Cen­ter Feb. 10.


Hem­lock the owl was a high­light of the in­ter­pre­tive Win­ter Hike Feb. 10 at Pen­i­ten­tiary Glen in Kirtland.

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