May 11-17 is Oak Openings Green Ribbon Initiative’s annual Blue Week. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers had to make the event virtual.
The Green Ribbon Initiative is a non-profit partnership of conservation groups committed to protecting the beauty and the diversity of the Oak Openings region.
The Oak Openings region is a 5-mile wide area that extends 22 miles from Southeast Michigan and down into Northwest Ohio. The region is home to five globally rare native plant communities and countless rare animals.
Blue Week highlights the large number of native species — which are blue — that inhabit the region including Karner blue butterflies, blue racers, bluebirds, blue lupine, and many more.
Events during the week typically showcase the region’s biodiversity and the wide array of species that call the area home.
For this year’s event, most events and presentations are held via Zoom. Some of the presenters include the Wood County Parks, Metroparks Toledo, Nature’s Nursery and The Nature Conservancy.
Some upcoming events include “Designing Your Native Garen” with the Wild Ones Oak Openings Chapter and “Bats of Northwest Ohio” hosted by Bowling Green State University researcher, Kelly Mei-Feung Russo Petrick.
Many events are also kid-friendly, including on Friday, May 15, “Spot the Sparrow” and on Sunday, May 17, “Close Up at Nature’s Nursery.”
The full schedule of events along with descriptions and how to register is available on the Oak Openings Green Ribbon Initiatives website, oakopenings.org/blue-week.
Along with virtual events are two do-it-yourself in-person adventures.
The photo scavenger hunt encourages people to visit the participating Blue Week parks and take a selfie of themselves with various items they find. Once all the items are found, participants can email their photos and be eligible to win a Green Ribbon Initiative T-shirt.
In addition to the scavenger hunt is the Blue Week fun fact activity. Visit 8 out of the 11 participating parks to find a fun fact about a local species. Write the fact and species down on the provided form and submit it by the end of the week for a chance to win some Oak Openings gear.
The list of scavenger hunt items, more instructions on how to participate and a list of Blue Week parks is available at oakopenings.org/blue-week.