Blue Week at Oak Openings celebrates spring colors and regional rarity
Every year in May, a partnership of different organizations including, The Green Ribbon Initiative, come together for a week long event, Blue Week, encouraging people to get outside in the Oak Openings area and experience the beauty of what this unique region has to offer. This celebration will take place at multiple Metroparks including Oak Openings and Secor Metropark with a goal “to educate and excite the public about the globally rare Oak Openings Region that is right here in our backyard. We want to encourage conservation, preservation and restoration with landowners, businesses, schools and the entire community,” explains Kelly Milewski, Environmental Education Specialist for Metroparks Toledo.
Why so special
Almost two decades ago, an international conservation organization, Nature Conservancy, named Oak Openings one of the last great 100 places in the world. While there are similar areas along the Great Lakes, what sets this area apart from others is the one hundred and thirty square miles of land which is home to more rare animals and plants than anywhere else in the state. The Oak Openings region and corridors were once home to Lake Warren, a lake larger than Lake Erie. After the lake receded it left behind miles upon miles of unique sandy soil, beach bridges, savannah wet prairie, wet woods, and purple grass prairie which has become the perfect habitat for thriving spring species.
Blanketing the vast grounds of Oak Openings you will see why this special event has been named Blue Week. Waves of wild blue lupine mixed with big and little bluestem blueberries provide habitat for the karner blue butterfly, spotted blue salamanders, blue racers, and don’t forget the bluebirds. These rare plants and animals are in abundance during the spring and early summer months and it is only here that you will enjoy such a display of blue beauty.
Events for the whole family
Twenty events will be held spreading across four counties including two new events; In Their Footsteps and Family Day.
Ms. Milewski described In Their Footsteps, held each evening at different locations, as “a way to learn about Oak Openings from the early naturalists that were here, there were people that paved the way for Oak Openings”. A handful of professors, ecologists, and naturalists will be leading nature walks, speaking to the public and hosting film events that highlight the legacy of past preservationists.
Family Day, Sunday, May 19 at Secor Metropark, will be a full day focused on introducing kids to what Oak Openings has to offer. Fun family activities such as face-painting, guided hikes, story-time, and crafts will be ongoing all day long. Other events include the popular native plant sale, native habitat for game hunting tour and discussion and an archery day.
May 13-May 19 | Free
For schedule and location information visit oakopenings.org