Blooms at Miller Nature Preserve

It may be gray days outside, but plants are blooming in the conservatory at Miller Nature Preserve in Avon. These pink balls of flowers are found on the tropical rose hydrangea. When you visit, make sure to check this out and enjoy the fragrance! The sweet smell reminds people of cake batter.

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Candy and Sweet Scents!

Princess Lolli sits among lollipops and a fragrant orchid!

The Candy Land Display at Miller Nature Preserve in Avon is open through Jan. 5 daily 10 am-5 pm (except 12/25 and 1/1/20). Admission is $2 for anyone over 3 yrs. old.

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Candy Land at Miller Nature Preserve

Outside big gingerbread figures welcome visitors to the display

Inside, visitors follow the colorful trail through the peppermint forest, licorice lagoon, and Queen Frostine’s Cupcake Corner to win at King Kandy’s Castle while learning some fun facts about candy and the game along the way! The display is open 10 am-5 pm now through Jan. 5 except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

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BEE thankful for bees too this holiday season!

Come Fall, do you enjoy visiting a pumpkin patch and our Halloween Fair’s ‘Pumpkin Lagoon’, carving & decorating pumpkins, eating pumpkin pie & sipping pumpkin spice coffee? If so, then THANK the squash bee for its pumpkin pollinating services!!

Squash bees (Peponapis pruinosa) occur throughout much of the United States & Mexico, where they are important pollinators of plants in the genus Cucurbita. This includes summer squash, winter squash, zucchini, pumpkins, and many gourds. Squash bees can be easily confused with honey bees, which they resemble in general size & coloration. In comparison, squash bees are larger, bulkier, have longer antennae & rounder faces, and are most easily recognized by their behavior of visiting these flowers starting around sunrise, before other bees are active.

Squash yield is entirely dependent on insect pollinators because male & female reproductive parts are housed in separate flowers and the pollen is heavy and can’t be dispersed by wind. By some estimates, squash bees alone may pollinate around two-thirds of the commercially grown squash in the United States! They are also regular visitors to suburban vegetable gardens.

For more buzz on the important role bees play in your delicious Holiday meals & treats, check-out   ~CVC Naturalist Miss Jenn 🙂

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Photographer Dan Messaros will be at Miller Nature Preserve located at 2739 Center Road in Avon on Saturday, November 30th from 1:00 -3:00 PM. The $48 sitting fee includes an 8×10 portrait, 4 wallets, and 25 cards with your choice of design. Pre-pay online then call and choose your your time slot at 440-937-0764. And yes, pets are welcomed also.

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‘Holiday Lights’ festive fun for the whole family!!

Begin or continue a family holiday tradition by spending an evening enjoying the beautiful sights & joyous sounds of Holiday Lights! From walking the decorated “holiday movie & song themed”, ½-mile paved trail and riding the Little Green Choo Holiday Express to heading inside the Visitor Center to enjoy a night-specific activity (e.g. Holiday Concerts, Visit with Santa, Santa Shop, Holiday Movies, Balloon Twisting Creations) there is plenty of entertainment for you & your family to enjoy together! Located at the Carlisle Visitor Center in LaGrange (12882 Diagonal Rd), Holiday Lights will be running from Friday, November 29th thru Monday, December 30th (NEW Hours: 5:30pm-9:30pm).

PLEASE NOTE the NEW Holiday Lights’ schedule and times:
Train Rides: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday ONLY, 5:30-8:30pm -the LINE to board train closes @ 8:15pm. Train trail will be CLOSED to pedestrians. Free, weather permitting.
Tram Rides: Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday ONLY, 5:30-8:30pm, available for both the main and the train trail. Train trail will be OPEN to pedestrians. Free, weather permitting.
*Dec 24th (special viewing hours: 5:30pm-8:00pm) walking trail only, the Visitor Center will be closed and there will be no train or tram rides.
*Dec 25th -Event & Visitor Center CLOSED

Admission is FREE, but we are asking everyone to bring one nonperishable food item that will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank. Also inside, for a small fee, are various refreshments to warm you up courtesy of Friends of Metro Parks.

For more information on the decorated Trails and about the nightly activities & entertainment, please check-out our NOV/DEC Arrowhead program guide and our website:

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Don’t let your leaves leave, or leave your leaves, use your leaves!


This is the time of year when we have a lot of yard clean-up to do, especially if you have a number of large trees in your neighborhood.  Some municipalities and townships have leaf pick up plans so you can rake excess leaves to the curb to be collected and hopefully turned into mulch.  But when you collect and bag the leaves in your yard for waste collection, they may end up in the landfill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, leaves and other yard debris account for 34.7 million tons of waste per year in the U.S., about 13.3% of all solid waste in the country.  Burning your leaves isn’t a great solution, either: The EPA notes that burning leaves contributes to air pollution, can be dangerous for those with lung conditions, and creates a risk of uncontrolled fires.

Large quantities of leaves left on lawns over a long period may cause damage to your yard.  This is especially problematic if the leaves are large, flat ones found on trees such as sycamores and some oaks, which can form a nearly impermeable mat.  If you have huge quantities of big leaves falling on delicate plants in a garden or densely covering grass in a lawn, you definitely don’t want to leave those leaves where they are. Plus, those big leaves aren’t likely to decompose over the winter—unless you take some basic steps.  Instead of removing all the leaves for pick-up, take advantage of the mulching features on most mowers.  It will break them down into smaller pieces, which won’t mat down as much, will break down faster, and won’t take up as much space as whole leaves.  You can also opt for a cheaper manual mulching mower like a Manual Walk Behind Reel Lawn Mower. The benefit of a mulching mower is that it crushes and shreds fallen leaves (and grass), but doesn’t remove them to a bag for disposal. Or you could use a dedicated leaf shredder. Throw the leaves you rake up into this machine, and out will come valuable mulch. Wondering what to do with your mulched and shredded leaves after you’ve processed them? There are all sorts of ways to put them to work for you. For example, they make the perfect mulch to use in perennial beds before winter comes; layer them about four inches thick but do not cover up the crowns of your plants. You can also use the leaf mulch around roses to help insulate them during the colder months. Some gardeners like to till shredded leaves into their vegetable plots at the end of the season to help replenish the soil. For the leaves you just run over with a mulching mower on your lawn, it’s okay to leave them right where they are—they’ll continue to break down and feed the grass. If you prefer a tidier look, or you’d like to speed up decomposition, put shredded leaves in your compost bin and you’ll have rich compost to use around your garden next spring. 

From composting to mulching to decomposing bits in the yard, you can make autumn leaves work for the benefit of your yard and garden instead of just giving them away or sending them to the landfill.

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