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Published: Monday, 5/13/2013

Local walkers get in step at Woodlawn Cemetery

Program offers tour, chance to exercise

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Locals enjoy beautiful weather as well as get in shape while learning history during a weekly walking program at  historic Woodlawn Cemetery and Arboretum on West Central Avenue in West Toledo. Locals enjoy beautiful weather as well as get in shape while learning history during a weekly walking program at historic Woodlawn Cemetery and Arboretum on West Central Avenue in West Toledo.
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At the suggestion of friends, Barry Mattimore and his wife, Sharon Traudt, of Lake Township signed up this month to participate in the Woodlawn Walkers program for the first time.

The weekly walking program is a five-month event at historic Woodlawn Cemetery and Arboretum on West Central Avenue in West Toledo, and it promotes exercise and recreation and provides a walking tour of the cemetery. The event, in its third season, gives participants a chance to learn about the property’s history and make friends.

Mr. Mattimore said the health benefits are part of the reason he and his wife participate in the program.

“I walk anyway, and it’s just for extra exercise,” he said. “It’s beautiful to see and learn about some of the trees.”

Participants have logged mile after mile walking the grounds of Woodlawn, home to more than 200 migratory and stationary birds. A lake offers a home to ducks.

While the program is not necessarily a new one at the cemetery, Patty Toneff, Woodlawn’s director of community outreach, said it is noteworthy.

“Yes, this has been very successful,” she said.

Participants can stroll through the cemetery, or they can power walk. The path, about two miles, gives walkers chances to explore the natural environment.

The walks are convenient for drop-ins too. Each participant gets a log to track of weekly progress.

Mr. Mattimore said the walks are about an hour long and cover a big loop of the cemetery. He said Ms. Toneff is instrumental in explaining the history and the flora of the land.

“She points out various trees and usually they feature one a week,” Mr. Mattimore said. “You kind of really zero in on one particular tree.”

The walks include random animal encounters. “You see a certain amount of wildlife — the occasional foxes and things like that,” Mr. Mattimore said.

Some historical facts about the monuments and tombstones are showcased as part of the walk. “It’s very beautiful from the standpoint of the monuments. They’re very opulent,” he said.

The program starts May 1 and runs until Oct. 2 and takes place every Wednesday at 9 a.m. There is no registration fee, and participants do not have to register for the walks.

For more details, call 419-472-2186 or email patty.toneff@historic-woodlawn.com.

Contact Kelly McLendon at: kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-724-6522 or on Twitter @KMcBlade.



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