Children play near a picnic area at Secor Metropark.
Just off bustling Central Avenue is an oasis that stretches across 586 acres of land. A wonderful place for quiet time and reflection, it isn’t Wildwood Preserve Metropark. It’s Secor Metropark -- only seven miles down the road from its sister park.
Most of the park, which has a Berkey mailing address, is in Richfield Township. However, the unique ecosystem, one piece of natural habitat that makes up the Oak Openings Region patchwork, flows over into Sylvania Township.
“This is more out in the country. People come here to be alone in the wilderness and to get away from the crowds,” Scott Carpenter, spokesman for the Metroparks of the Toledo Area, said about the contrast between the two parks located in the township.
Wildwood was described as more of a social park, with the historical Manor House, and other activities offered there.
Contrast is also why Secor Metropark is a natural beauty.
“You have the big woods, but then they open up to the prairies and meadows,” he said.
A skyline whose only interruption is the outstretched arms of the trees, also makes it a place for stargazing, and for reflection.
“The biggest part of what is here is not the number of tree species, but it’s the best example of a mature woods,” Art Weber, director of photography for the park, said.
Mr. Weber said there are more than 100 variety of tree species, with thick trunks that form a dense forest, compared to the other parks in the metropark system.
Map of Secor Metropark.
He spoke of the Tulip Trees with their extremely straight trunks whose lowest limbs are 50 to 60 feet high.
Along with an abundant dogwood tree population, which is a beautiful site to see once they bloom, said Karen Pugh, manager for the park’s National Center for Nature Photography, the park also has several trails for biking, walking, and cross country skiing.
Ms. Pugh and Mr. Weber spoke about the National Center for Nature Photography, located at the park, and the local, national, and international pieces that have hung on the gallery’s walls. This year the center celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The center is currently hosting several exhibits, each giving the viewer a different angle into the curious life of animals. Up-close intimate portraits of the spiders found in the Oak Openings Region, alarming images of how nature strives to survive, not always successfully, alongside man-made environments, and wondrous scenes of nature caught by the photographer at just the right moment, fill the gallery walls.
Another exhibit demonstrates the glorious night sky and positions the viewer to question how the dark sky was at risk, because of artificial light pollution. The photos were taken by award-winning night photographer Tyler Nordgren, an astronomer at the University of Redlands in California. His pieces have been exhibited in galleries across the country and New York City.
Ellie Crawford, 18, of Las Vegas, takes a look at one of the national photographic exhibits inside the National Center for Nature Photography at Secor Metropark. The center features rotating galleries of local and national work. Crawford was in town for a visit and had biked out to see the photographs.
Pieces from National Geographic has also been displayed in the past, Mr. Weber said. The intent is to grow the gallery into a national photo gallery, he said. Through photography he aims to show locals that awe-inspiring nature is right here in the region.
The center aims to display nature, educate residents on nature photography, but more importantly to teach nature appreciation, Mr. Weber explained. The photos are also used in the Metroparks' publications.
“There is no other way to to tell our story than through photography,” Mr. Carpenter said.
Secor Metropark is also gearing up for its fall programs, which includes special events and informational sessions on the plight of the Monarch butterfly, since September is Monarch Month at the center.
For more information about Secor Metropark, 10001 W. Central Ave., Berkey and its National Center for Nature Photography, visit www.metroparkstoledo.com.
Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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