Chris Chaney, Park Biologist

The park district’s pine tree saplings at Everett Rd. Nursery, June 1928

As we celebrate the park district’s centennial anniversary this year, we are also marking 100 years of conservation, preservation and connecting people to nature in Summit County.

Christy Counterman, Marketing Assistant & Janean Kazimir, Interpretive Naturalist

Girl Scout Tree Planting Festival on April 30, 1966 at Virginia Kendall Park

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have had a long history alongside Summit Metro Parks. Even before the park district was founded, Boy Scouts were camping at what is now Gorge Metro Park in a cabin they built dubbed “Old Slabsides.” Our mutual friendship has flourished ever since, officially beginning in the 1920s when the Girl Scouts hosted tree plantings at Sand Run and Goodyear Heights Metro Parks. Over the years, Scouts have recreated in our parks as well as volunteered time and talent to grow them into what they are today, thus inspiring new generations of caretakers for our “Green Islands.”

Girl Scouts

Megan Shaeffer, Ph.D., Cultural Resource Coordinator

F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm was dedicated in 1966.

Many people know Franklin Augustus Seiberling as one of the co-founders of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. F.A., along with his brother Charles, opened the first factory in Akron in 1898 and his innovations and patents helped the company fuel tremendous economic growth in Northeast Ohio in the early twentieth century.

Marlo Perdicas, Park Biologist

Eastern bluebirds photo by Jerry Cannon

The eastern bluebird has delighted Ohioans for decades with its flashy coloration and conspicuous behavior. In the early 20th century, bluebird populations saw rapid decline due to habitat loss, pesticide use and the introduction of non-native birds such as the European starling and house sparrow.

In 1978, the North American Bluebird Society was founded to promote education and conservation of the species. The society led a continent-wide effort to place nesting boxes throughout their range. Together with our volunteers, Summit Metro Parks has monitored bluebird nest boxes since the 1970s.

Long-time volunteer Lew Monagen has monitored the same boxes in Hampton Hills and O’Neil Woods Metro Parks since the establishment of our official monitoring program in 1993.

“Over the years I’ve had a lot of encouragement from folks like former park district employee Bert Szabo and the Akron Audubon Society. My…

Peg Bobel, Cultural Resource Specialist

F.A. Seiberling (photo courtesy of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens)

One hundred years ago, Ohioans and the rest of the nation were still recovering from the 1918 influenza pandemic that took the lives of 675,000 Americans and upended the lives of many others. The “Great War” was also barely in the rear-view mirror.

But now things were looking up — in Akron, the growing rubber industries were hiring thousands of new factory workers and the city was growing by leaps and bounds. Much of the work, however, was dirty and backbreaking, with workers putting in long days. Nonetheless, progress was being made on shortening work hours and laborers found they had more leisure time. Popular nature writers such as John Burroughs were inspiring everyday folks to get outside and experience the physical and spiritual benefits of nature. …

Meghan Doran, Assistant Education & Recreation Manager

Prothonotary warbler photo by Sheila Stransky

What does “ethical birding” mean to you?

How can birding be ethical? The answer is quite simple - it is making decisions and taking actions that are based on moral principles and personal beliefs of doing no harm while pursuing an activity, in this case, birding.

Are you looking for a new, creative way to feed the birds this winter? Look no further! You only need a few simple items to invite wildlife into your yard.

Megan Shaeffer, PhD, cultural resource coordinator

Wagner (left) consults on park plans for Firestone Metro Park in August 1941.

Even before he was hired as the first director-secretary of Akron Metropolitan Park District (AMPD, which was the original name for Summit Metro Parks), Harold Wagner was heavily involved with the fledgling park district, working to create a swath of protected green space across Summit County.

Mark Szeremet, Land Acquisition Specialist/Park Planner

The new John R. Morris Nature Preserve contains high-quality forest and wetlands.

One of the park district’s newest conservation properties was donated by local residents James and Neille Vitale and is now named the John R. Morris III Nature Preserve in honor of Neille’s father. This preserve is located adjacent to Seven Ponds Trail in the Tinkers Creek Area of Liberty Park, on Old Mill Road in Twinsburg Township.

The property protects 44 acres of high-quality riparian forest and Category 3 wetlands and connects to other protected natural areas along the Tinkers Creek corridor. A special feature of this property is a stream that artfully meanders, creating several oxbow wetlands that are habitat for a variety of sensitive amphibian species. As a protected conservation area, it will remain closed to the public.

Lindsay Smith, marketing and public relations manager

Before setting off to promote a safe space for children and families to learn through play together as executive director of Akron’s first children’s museum, Traci Buckner spent the bulk of her career in education. Once a middle school teacher, Buckner excelled through several administration roles in the Akron Public Schools district. When she’s not at Akron Children’s Museum, Buckner and her family enjoy time spent in Summit Metro Parks.

“One park experience that is most memorable is when me and my husband, Tobin, took our two sons, Jackson and Justice, to a night out at F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm to learn from a naturalist, catch lightning bugs and make s’mores around a campfire. This is something we still enjoy doing at our home around the fire pit now that my sons are older,” Buckner recalled.

We are grateful to Buckner for her leadership in our community, especially through an unusually challenging year. Like many people, she and her family found the parks…

Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks manages 14,000 acres, 16 parks and more than 150 miles of trails. Find more at

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