One of the joys of a walk in the woods is that I always find a surprise. I was reminded of this fact recently when I walked the trails at Gallant Woods Park (Buttermilk Hill Road). As I strolled down the trail I was followed for a while by a pair of scolding White-breasted Nuthatches, one of our most endearing native bird species. Perhaps they were unhappy because I was in their territory. I heard Northern Cardinals singing in the distance and also recognized the churring call of a nearby Red-bellied Woodpecker. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I noticed an odd looking whitish stem near the ground. When I knelt down and looked closely, I saw a small cluster of whitish stems poking up through the fallen leaves. It was the flowering stalks of Indian Pipe. This remarkable plant doesn’t have any green foliage, it derives its food from an association with fungus in the soil.
This short walk reminded me how much I appreciate the green space preserved by the Preservation Parks of Delaware County. Our park district is relatively new, but it has already developed a reputation for excellence in preserving natural areas and providing wonderful educational activities. The other folks I encountered on the trail included a small family as well as several runners. We live in one of the fastest growing counties in Ohio, and open green space is a rapidly vanishing resource. The mission of our parks system is to preserve some of these areas and provide opportunities for citizens to explore and enjoy them.
As Delaware County grows, I believe that it is important that we continue to preserve a few wild areas, not just for the wildlife but also for joyful walks-in-the-woods. The parks system is supported by a modest county-wide property tax levy. The levy will be up for renewal this year. I write today to urge my neighbors to join me and support the Preservation Parks of Delaware County with their vote this November.
— Richard Bradley
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