Author Archives: kkovarik

LOUA’s Lucky Day!

luckyslogoI don’t know if many of you know, but Lucky’s Market in Clintonville has a 5% Day where they partner with local non-profits to donate (strangely enough) 5% percent of their total sales for that day to said partner.

Well, LOUA is going to be Lucky’s 5% Day Partner for August!

What does this mean to you? It means that you need to head to Lucky’s to go shopping on

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

for all of your fresh veggies, meats, and dairy. And bread, and crackers, and spices, and soup and well, you get the picture.

And what does it mean for us? The more you shop, the more money LOUA will get to help the Arboretum thrive.

So save up all your shopping at Lucky’s for Tuesday, August 12, 2014.

Until next time!

Upcoming Events

compostStream Clean Up Event at Glen Echo Park

Sat, July 19, 9am – 12pm
Calumet Christian School
2774 Calumet St, Columbus, OH 43202 (map)

FLOW and Anheuser Busch are teaming up with River Network for a Stream Clean Up. Volunteers are needed to help pick up litter, weed the butterfly garden, affix storm drain markers and help with planning and picnic logistics. We’ll meet at the Calumet Christian School.

Please RSVP to (614) 267-3386 or send us a message at so we know how many will join us for the picnic! Registration will open soon at

Composting Workshop

August 16 at 1pm
513 Piedmont Rd. Columbus OH 43214.

Please join FLOW for a SWACO-supported workshop for a home composting workshops for our watershed residents. We want to encourage you to save your yard and kitchen waste and recycle it into topsoil that you can use. The soil will provide the nutrients that your veggies, flowers, or trees need to be healthy!

Remove more than 500 lbs of organic matter from your household waste per year, diverting it from collection, the landfill.

  • Provides a nutrient rich “super soil” to add to your garden, lawn and house plants
  • Takes as little as 10 minutes a week
  • Reduces use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides
  • Can Reduce gardening water bill by 30%

See Compost Workshop Trifold Order Form for more details.

Register by mailing a check for the composter ($30) and other items to FLOW at 3528 N. High St., Suite F Columbus OH 43214, or pay via Paypal on FLOW’s website. This will be the final composting workshop of the season, and spaces are limited, so sign up today.

Until next time!

Clifton Gorge

This past Sunday, Pete and I went to Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. We’ve been there a few times, the first being with his mom and her college roommate, so it holds a very special place in my heart. It’s one of my favorite places to walk, with the sound of rushing water, ferns, limestone, and cliffs. Tons of native plants, although we did see a few invasives. It looks like they are working on restoring the area.

If you need a little relaxation, just listen to the video. Nothing more peaceful (at least to me) than rushing water…


Long-tailed salamander (Eurycea longicauda)


Steamboat Rock


Limestone cliffs


Wild ginger and ferns


More cliffs

BioBlitz 2014 Update

Glen EchoWe’ve finally tallied all of the various insects, creepy crawlies, snakes, birds, plants and amphibians from BioBlitz 2014. It took a little bit longer to organize as we had last year’s data to compare to this year’s. Despite the rain – and a huge thanks to everyone who stopped by or volunteered during the 12 hours we collected – we manged to find new things! If you are interested in the list, you can find in this Excel file: Glen Echo Bioblitz 2014. We found nearly 140 species.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Mike Graziano, who did the lion’s share of work to organize the whole event. I look forward to next year’s BioBlitz. It’s lovely to see what new things we can find, which simply means that the changes we’ve made in Glen Echo, such as removing invasive plants – have made a difference.

On a less happy note, the one egg that was in the new finch nest is no more. It’s been smashed with evidence of feathers around. I am assuming that whatever attacked the nest did so either while Mama or Papa Finch were nearby. I know it’s what happens, but I don’t have to like it. A least I had one batch of babies make it the whole way through and leave the nest…

Until next time!

Big Things Happening!

bridge_1Great news for Clintonville and the university areas! The Green Fund of the Columbus Foundation has awarded $17,000 to the Coalition United for Glen Echo Ravine (CUGER) for the purpose of hiring Benefactor to complete a feasibility study for connecting Glen Echo Park to the Olentangy River with a walking trail. This study should be completed by the end of September and will provide the coalition with the “road map” on how to fund the two components: trail building and land acquisition which includes the White Castle property on North High St. bordering the two communities. Click here to read the story about the grant in ThisWeek.

Huge thanks to the Foundation!

It is so amazing to me that we are now at this feasibility stage for a walking trail. This past weekend, Pete and I travelled to Kent, Ohio to have lunch with some relatives. We ate at the Pufferbelly Restaurant, which is in an old train station right next to the Cuyahoga River. The restaurant is the large building in the background of the photo below with the river and waterfall in the front.

Kent Ohio waterfall on Cuyahoga RiverWhile waiting for the rest of our party to arrive, Pete and I went in for a closer look because we saw this:

photo 2We were curious (and hopeful) that this might lead to some sort of trail along the river, something that might be similar to what we would love to see in Glen Echo. Well, it was!

river trail at Kent Ohio

Pete and I were so excited to walk around that my aunt texted to ask if we were lost. Anyway, can you imagine something like this in Glen Echo? Here’s a little video I took on the trail. I apologize that it’s not landscape, but the last time I tried to get a video on my iPhone, I held the phone the wrong way, and the video was upside down when I uploaded it. Couldn’t take a chance with this one!

There were plenty of people walking on the trail (we managed to avoid them during filming) including a family with several children. I also saw a great blue heron snag a sunfish. Such patience in sneaking up on the fish. And all in the middle of an urban area.

Until next time!

City-Wide Recyling Event::6.28.14

a one stop drop for hard to recycle items

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Ohio History Center
800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus 43211

Big Green Head is always helping folks find responsible ways to get rid of “stuff” they no longer want or need.  The Great Green Purge is a one-day answer to the question…”what do I do with this stuff?”

With cooperation from SWACO, The City of Columbus, The Ohio History Center, Natural Awakenings of Central Ohio and volunteers from Capitol Square Rotary Club and the Green Shanny Foundation; The Great Green Purge provides Central Ohioans the opportunity to conveniently and responsibly dispose of their unwanted “stuff” while educating the public and providing local resources for recycling throughout the year.

For more information, click here!

Until next time!

Happy World Environment Day!

WED_2014_EN_LWorld Environment Day is the date set by the United Nations’  to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Their slogan is “Raise your voice, not the sea level.” I like it. There are so many things that we can do as individuals that can make a difference: recycle everything you can; walk or take public transportation; and, of course, my favorite, plant a tree! In Nepal, more than 2,000 people, mostly students, commemorated the day by working to set a world record for tree hugging, highlighting the importance of trees, something we understand here in our arboretum. Our trees in the backyard are getting tall enough that they are starting to provide shade for our house.

Speaking of trees, I had planned on blogging about making what was being done to make sure that our trees planted last fall were doing well. Our Tree Care Committee has been working hard to get trees staked, pruned, and putting tree guards around their trunks. Most were looking really great. However, with all of the wet weather, I don’t think many of the trees had to send out many roots to get water. When it got all hot and dry, some of the trees started to look stressed. So just a reminder to keep an eye on our trees; if you see one that needs help, let me know. We can come check it out.

On another note, the finch babies have hatched, so little fuzzy things are moving in their nest. Don’t know how the cardinals are doing as they are much more protective of their nest. Looks likes it a great time in the neighborhood for little ones to arrive!

Until next time!

BioBlitz, Among Other Things…

BioBlitz 2014 is over, and despite the rainy weather, it was a success. Lots of things were found, many that we saw last year but some that were new discoveries. Apparently, a little rain doesn’t put a damper on scientist digging around. Pete looked like a drowned rat, not seeing that the hood on his rain jacket would be a great use.

We are still compiling the list of what all was found, but the crowning jewels were in the afternoon bird walk, in which there was a red-breasted grosbeak, a scarlet tanager and a indigo bunting. Once again, I wasn’t able t see a one! And Mike also created a PLANT THIS, NOT THAT list to replace non-natives in your yards.

So thanks to everyone who braved the showers to come see what’s living in Glen Echo!

photo 1 photo 3 photo 4On another note, my finches have come back to nest in the ferns. So the worries have begun. Today, I heard Mama and Papa Finch chattering. When I looked out the window, there was a squirrel hanging from the bottom of the basket. I chased him away and filled the bird feeder with sunflower seeds to entice him to go to the backyard. Every year, I cry when some of the eggs or nestlings don’t make it, even though I know that’s what happens in nature. Doesn’t mean I have to like it! I’ll let you know what happens. Maybe this year, every little birdie will make it.

UPDATE: There is now a strange egg in with the blue finch eggs. Does anyone know what’s going on? I get so attached to my babies that I want to protect them. I fear somebody laid their egg in Mama Finch’s nest, and once hatched, that baby bird will not be kind to my little finches. See picture of the nest and egg below.

nestFinally, Laura Fay sent me a link for the Bee Smart Pollinator Gardener app. The web site states: “With the Bee Smart™ Pollinator Gardener’s easy user interface, browse through a database of nearly 1,000 native plants. Filter your plants by what pollinators you want to attract, light and soil requirements, bloom color, and plant type.”

This is an excellent plant reference to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, bats, and other pollinators to the garden, farm, school and every landscape.” Click here to learn more.

Until next time!

BioBlitz 2014 Tentative Schedule

BioBlitz 2014!

Here’s the tentative schedule for Saturday, May 10, 2014, rain or shine! Everything will start under the Indianola Bridge in Glen Echo Park. Hope you can come and enjoy yourself, take lots of photographs, and take advantage of knowledge of the many scientists here!

8:00 – 9:30
Bird Walk
Lead by Glen Echo Bird Club

10:00 – 11:30
Creepy Crawly Walk (Insects, Spiders, Reptiles,Amphibians)
Lead by Michael Graziano, Peter Kovarik, and Sarah Rose

11:30 – 1:00
Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plants
Lead by Michael Graziano, Peter Kovarik, Dan Struve

1:00 – 3:00

3:00 – 4:30
Creepy Crawly Walk (Insects, Spiders, Reptiles,Amphibians)
Lead by Michael Graziano, Peter Kovarik, and Sarah Rose

4:30 – 6:00
Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plants
Lead by Michael Graziano, Peter Kovarik, and Dan Struve

6:00 – 7:30
Bird Walk
Lead by Glenn Echo Bird Club

7:30 – 8:00

Signs of Life

Well, there are signs of life from me as a blogger and from Mother Nature. I’ve just not felt like blogging about anything except the weather, and oh well, here I go blogging about the weather again!

You’d think that after such a bitter, cold and killing winter, I’d be extra excited about spring arriving, even if it was several months late. But I just couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm for spring, even as my plants started to push their way out of the ground – at least those that survived. And that was the problem. I couldn’t seem to concentrate on what was growing (my amazingly resilient native plants) but only on what didn’t seem to be coming back, what had died over the winter. My poor roses (more about them later), some of my coral bells, and of course, obsessing over the plants that most likely wouldn’t be showing until later in summer. Are they going to come up? Or are they dead, too?

Then Pete and I went on a walk down to Lavash’s to meet our dear friends Jason and Corinne. Since it was such a beautiful day, we decided to walk down Crestview. And oh my, were the little trees we planted doing their very best to make us think spring! We’d see a pink dogwood (small enough that a flower shouldn’t even be expected for another year or two) with one, beautiful, amazing little pop of color. And the American plums. Just these wee tiny trees with hardly any branches just covered in beautiful white flowers. And white dogwoods, too. And all the other trees we had planted in the fall showing just how much they can take when it comes to frigid temperatures. All of a sudden, it was Spring.

And it kept getting better. Pete was going to dig up my rose bushes and lo and behold, one wasphoto 1 alive, putting up new, vigorous growth. Then another one showed tiny, amazing signs of life. I don’t know if that one will be able to grow strong and come back, but I’m going to give it a chance. Unfortunately, my climbing rose is truly gone, but Pete found a new one for me to try: Rosa setigera, or a native climbing prairie rose. We had a dickens of a time finding one to order. I have a feeling that many others are searching for a more hardy rose after this last winter. I’ll let you know how it manages; it isn’t a very showy rose, but it is supposed to be fragrant, which is a major consideration in any rose I buy.









So, here’s a taste of what’s going on in our yard, right now:

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5photo 1 photo 2


















photo 4 photo 5photo 3














I hope your spring is picking up. And I hope to see you at BioBlitz next Saturday at Glen Echo Park, 8-8. Look for us by the bird mural under the Indianola Bridge.

Until next time!