Volunteer Opportunities at the Licking Park District

May. 5, 2016

It is an exciting time at the Licking Park District!

We have a lot of programs and projects we are planning for 2016 and beyond. Of course, volunteer participation will be crucial to the success of these projects. Please look over the upcoming programs and contact Anne Balogh at anne.balogh@lickingparkdistrict.com or 740-587-2535 to get involved.

Educational Programming

Nature Barn Weekends:    In June and July, Infirmary Mound Park will have a ‘Nature Barn’. We will be outfitting a 10’ x 20’ barn as a temporary nature center. Each weekend will have a themed topic (pollinators, birds, history, etc) and will offer a variety of programs. We are looking for volunteers to assist in staffing the nature barn, leading hikes, and kids programming. Opportunities exist for volunteers with special interests to develop and teach family and adult programming as well.

Saturday Morning Hikes:  We offer a Saturday Morning Hike the third Saturday of every month.
Volunteers with experience in natural history topics are encouraged to contact us if they are interested in leading one.

Family Movie Nights: In 2016, we plan to offer two family movie nights. The first will be June 24 th at Riverview Preserve. We will be showing A Bug’s Life and having the Bug Man out from Columbus, as well as a number of activities celebrating pollinators for families. Volunteers will be needed to assist staff at an informational booth and with educational hands-on activities.

Special Event Information : The Licking Park District has many special events through the year where we provide an informational booth and activities. Volunteers assist with staffing the booth, hands-on activities, and information distribution.

Upcoming events include:
June 18th : Women’s Outdoor Skills Workshop
June 24th : Movie at the Park
Oct. 8th : Harvest Moon Festival
Oct. 29th : Howloween

Citizen Science

Butterfly Monitoring: We are establishing the Licking Park District’s first butterfly monitoring program at Infirmary Mound Park. Following the protocols of The Ohio Lepidopterists long term monitoring of butterflies, surveys will be conducted once a week April October. Each will take about 12 hours depending on the number of butterflies to record. We are looking for volunteers willing to devote a few hours a month (or more!). You do not need to be a butterfly expert; we will teach and learn together!  There will be opportunities for those with more experience to mentor and even lead this project.

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP): This citizen science project involves volunteers from across the United States and Canada in monarch research. It was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota to collect long term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed habitat. The overarching goal of the project is to better understand how and why monarch populations vary in time and space, with a focus on monarch distribution and abundance during the breeding season in North America. As a volunteer, your contributions will aid in conserving monarchs and their threatened migratory phenomenon and advance our understanding of butterfly ecology in general and at the Licking Park District. We will be starting this at Infirmary Mound Park. Volunteers will “adopt” a patch of milkweed this summer to monitor for Monarch eggs and larva. Optimally, this will be once a week, but volunteers can share patches! In the fall we will tag adults Monarchs as well.
Trainings will be offered as a program, dates TBD, and one-on-one.

Bluebird Nest box Monitoring: Our nest boxes at Infirmary Mound Park, Taft Reserve, and Lobdell Reserve are in need of a little TLC! Monitoring a bluebird nest box trail is a great way to learn about our local cavity nesters, especially bluebirds. Monitors get to watch birds build their nests, lay eggs and fledge young. In addition to bluebirds we will often encounter tree swallows and other cavity nesters. We are looking for individuals that are interested in donating a few hours a month to monitor boxes.  Our goal is to establish teams of 4 so that each person monitors about once per month, April through August.

Opportunities will be available for those looking to be a trail leader. These leaders will assist in
managing the monitoring schedule, training new monitors, and identifying trail repairs. Data will
ultimately be used both to inform management of the Licking Park District and submitted to
Nest Watch, a citizen science project through Cornell University.

May 14 @ 2:00 PM Citizen Science Series – Bluebird Monitoring
Join us for an informational program to learn about the bluebirds of Licking County, the
nest box trails we have at the parks, and how you can volunteer. We will follow the inside
portion with a hike to visit a nest box. Infirmary Mound Park, 4309 Lancaster Road

MAPS Bird Banding: The Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) Program was created
by The Institute for Bird Populations in 1989 to assess and monitor the breeding population of over
150 species of North American birds to provide critical conservation and management information.

The MAPS Program uses a standardized mist netting and banding program. Information collected will
inform resource management as to the types of bird species breeding, their annual fluctuations, and
habitat preferences.

We will be initiating a MAPS station at Infirmary Mound Park. The station will run approximately once
every 10 days for eight periods from mid-May through mid-August. Volunteers will be trained on an
ongoing, personalized basis. They will assist with data recording, mist net setup and take down, and
bird extraction and handling. Each banding day will feature a banding demonstration, and volunteers
will be trained to assist.

Conservation Work Days

Gardens: We seek volunteers who are interested in assisting in the design, planting, and maintenance
of native plant gardens at Infirmary Mound Park.

Invasive removal: Each park has a number of invasive plant species that needs removed including
garlic mustard, autumn olive, honeysuckle, teasel, and more. Volunteers are needed to assist with
their removal as we prepare to mow, manage, and restore habitat.

Planting trees: We will be planting trees, to replace ash trees that we are losing, as well as for park
beautification and habitat restoration.

Volunteers Grounds

Gardens: We seek volunteers who are interested in taking care of the vegetation/beds around the
park signs at Infirmary Mound, Lobdell, and Taft.

Dog Park: Along with dogs comes dog poop! Individuals willing to do periodic dog park poop clean up
are needed 12x a month at Infirmary Mound Park.

Lobdell Disc Golf Course: The disc golf requires regular trash clean up, especially 515
ft. into woods along the whole perimeter.

Bike trails: The bike trail requires regular cutting of shrubs & tree branches as well as invasive
control along its length. We hope to find individuals and groups to volunteer to ‘adopt’ sections to
assist in maintenance.