Silver Creek Metro Park is located in Norton Ohio, which is just south of Akron. The park provides areas for several outdoor activities including archery, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, bird watching, and several more. The park is home to more types of environments then one would expect to be found in a Metro park. The environments include meadows, deciduous forests, and coniferous forest, although most of the coniferous trees are nonnative pines. There are ponds and vernal pools throughout the area, but the majority of the area would not be described as a wetland. Areas that are normally used by the public including trails, beaches, and disc golf fields are regularly maintained through the use of mechanical and chemical controls, but the forests tend to have much less human interactions. Unfortunately this area, like many other in Ohio, has a real issue with non-native invasive including autumn olive, honeysuckle, and mutliflora rose. Silver Creek Metro Park is able to sustain several of Ohio’s native wildlife common in the area.
Common Name: Mayapple or Mandrake Scientific Name: Podophyllum peltatum
Fun Fact: Although mayapples do not have nectar they offer bee species a rich amount of pollen which queen bumblebees are particularly attracted to because of the pollen’s use for rearing young workers.
Common Name: European Honeysuckle Scientific Name: Lonicera xylosteum
Common Name: American Crabapple Scientific Name: Pyrus coronaria
Common Name: Multiflora Rose Scientific Name: Rosa multiflora
Common Name: Red Clover Scientific Name: Trifolium pratense
Fun Fact: Like most other members of the pea family, red clover is a great plant to utilize for crop rotations due to their nitrogen-producing root nodules.
Common Name: European Columbine Scientific Name: Aquilegia vulgaris
Interesting Fact: Native Americans used columbine for medicinal purposes to cure or treat ailments such as fevers or heart problems.
Common Name: Tulip Poplar or Yellow Poplar Scientific Name: Liriodendron tulipifera
Fun Fact: Although normally referred to as a tulip poplar or yellow poplar the Liriodendron tulipifera is not actually a member of the poplar tree family and instead is a member of the magnolia tree family, which includes such species as the cucumber tree, star magnolia, and bigleaf magnolia
Common Name: Poison Ivy Scientific Name: Rhus radicans
Warning Signs: Some features to look out for when identifying poison ivy include a trifoliated long stalked leaf that is lacking thorns. The plant can be found either as an erect shrub, trailing vine, or climbing vine. The plant can be very variable amongst individual specimens. Leaves of young plants or leaves that are dying may have a reddish coloring. If it is found as a climbing vine then several aerial rootlets will be present. Fruit is small, smooth white ball shaped berries found in clusters.
Here is an example of one of the many interpretative signs that can be found at Silver Creek Metro Park. This sign does a lot of things great. It gives a clear artistic rendering of what the leaves and acorns of this species will look like and is placed right in front of a mature tree so hikers can see a real example. The sign provides both the common and scientific name as well as some quick facts about the species. Lastly the sign touches on the importance that this species plays as a food source for a lot of our native species. Where this sign starts to lack is that it doesn’t really encompass the importance of this species or the threat that it is facing. It does really well in giving the reader some idea of the trees they are looking at, but doesn’t make them aware about the lack of oak regeneration that is taking place in Ohio. I am aware that this may not have been the goal of this sign, but it could be impact full if people who must care about nature to some extent, or why else would they be on a hike in nature, to be made aware of this issue. That is why I changed the focus of my sign.
My sign design still provides some examples for identification while highlighting the importance of the species, the threat it is facing, and what can be done about that threat.