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Spring 2014

Spring 2014

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Published by PauldingProgress

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Published by: PauldingProgress on Apr 23, 2014
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April23, 2014
2 - Paulding County Progress Spring Wednesday, April 23, 2014
By Mark HoltsberryEducation specialistPaulding SWCD
PAULDING – The Black SwampNature Center was established in1990. The state-owned PauldingPonds Wildlife Areas was sold to thePaulding County commissioners,who leased the land to the PauldingCounty Area Foundation. The organ-ization provided funds for the leaseand maintenance and to develop awildlife education area. Matchingfunds were raised by area businessesand local supporters.Representatives from organiza-tions discussed future plans for thefacility. Although the foundationheld the lease, it was not in charge of development. That is when severalorganizations formed the PauldingCounty Wildlife Association.This organization foresaw use of the land for science and scoutinggroups, nesting sites, pond life, treeand plant identification with the areabeing closed to hunting. This is oneof the few designated wildlife areasin Paulding County.In 2000, the planning of an educa-tional building was in progress.Contacts through the state were apositive experience as fundingbecame available. The building wascompleted in the early fall of 2002.The availability of a structure for educational use has been what finish-es a picturesque view of nature.The nature center is available for workshops, seminars, training and personal rental. In 2013 alone, thenature center was host to five wed-dings. Also, workshops and trainingare offered by the Paulding Soil andWater Conservation District and areopen to citizens of all ages and fromsurrounding areas. Teachers, scouts,4-H leaders, school and other groupsare encouraged to utilize the area asan indoor/outdoor classroom or meet-ing area. This was more true in 2013as the fifth grade field day occurred atthe nature center with over 150 stu-dents in attendance.Also, a field day was held with theHead Start program, with educationalgames and programs entertained over 30 students, with numerous parentsand grandparents present.The Black Swamp Nature Center contains 51 acres. That includes 24acres of woodland, 14 acres of wet-lands, six acres of old meadow, not tomention the waterways. A boatlaunch allows easy access to FlatRock Creek, while trails, about onemile, wander around the top banks of three ponds, along Flat Rock Creek and past the Old Sugar Beet dam.These trails are covered with woodchips so visitors can enjoy the beautyof nature without tracking in the mud.
Black Swamp Nature Center offers many sights and educational opportunities
Staff Photo/
Paulding County Progress
The Black Swamp Nature Center will receive a $21,525 grant through Ohio’s2014 Capital Budget. The funds will be used to pave the gravel parking lot at theeducation center, located along Fairground Drive in Paulding. State Rep. TonyBurkley (left) had notified education specialist Mark Holtsberry that grant moneywas available and encouraged Holtsberry to write a grant proposal. Here,Burkley and Holtsberry look over plans for the project.
In 2012 funds and grants wereraised to resurface the parking lot atthe park. This provides a handi-capped friendly environment to pic-nic on the new tables, observe birdlife or just enjoy the sights andsounds. More than 190 species of  birds have been seen and recorded onthe grounds. Also in 2012 bald eagleswere sighted and pictured within the park.Planning for 2014 includes newtrees and wildflowers to be plantedthat involve native species and moreeducational programs, field day, andnature tours involving local schools.The recent grant to pave the naturecenter parking lot was awarded andthe project will take place in 2015.The park is open from dawn untildusk. Individuals or groups areencouraged to con-tact the PauldingCounty Soil andWater ConservationDistrict at 419-399-4771 or  paulding@pauldingswcd.org or visit thewebsite:www.pauldingsw-cd.org for moreinformation.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Paulding County Progress Spring - 3
Auglaize Canoe and Kayak offers nature’s view up close
By JOE SHOUSECorrespondent
OAKWOOD – After its initialyear in business last summer Auglaize Canoe and Kayak is look-ing forward to the summer of 2014.Located two miles south of Ohio613 on County Road 263(Paulding-Putnam County line),then west on Road 207, sits the liv-ery on the 100-year-old familyfarm.Doug and Bonnie Weller, whoboth retired from careers in salesand teaching, had the dream for several years to one day open akayak business. They, along withtheir son, Troy, and wife, Tammy,and their three children, Leva,Amelia and Payton, took a giantleap of faith last year and they havenot looked back.Housed in the converted barnthat was built by Doug and some of his FFA friends when they were inhigh school, the facility serves asthe check-in point for those whoseek adventure on the PauldingCounty waterways.“This is our retirement project. Itis what we do to keep ourselvesyoung,” said Doug.The livery is opened from May 1to Oct. 1 and it has been everythingthe Wellers had hoped it would be.“To be honest, last year was morethan we expected. But we are tak-ing it slow and we will add newfeatures to the facility from time totime. This year, we will be offeringpaddleboards,” said Bonnie.Those who come out to experi-ence the water consist of all ages.From preschool to those in their 80s have enjoyed the variety of boat trips.“Last season we had a group of five ladies who came out to campand then went kayaking the follow-ing day. It was their version of agirls’ night out,” said Bonnie.The canoe and kayak facility haswelcomed couples, families, smallgroups, as well as church youthgroups, boy scouts, school groups.EMS/fire departments, and lawenforcement groups.“We have had a wide variety of people attend. We have even hadsports teams from local highschools who use the facility as aform of team building,” saidBonnie.Patrons from surrounding coun-ties have visited the Weller farmand have enjoyed the kayaking andcanoeing.“We have had people visitingfamily and friends in the area whowere from California and Floridawho came over and enjoyed theview of the beautiful sceneryoffered by canoeing down theAuglaize.”But, at the end of the day, it’s thekids who are the best.“Everyone always has a goodtime. People get wet and you hear alot of laughter when they finishtheir course along the river,” saidDoug.Auglaize Canoe provides 13 two- person canoes, 22 two-person sit-on-top kayaks, 12 twisters or singlekayaks, and new this year will be paddleboards.“We have something very uniquehere. There is not much commer-cialism around the the river whichadds to the wide variety of outdoor life. Often times you can witnesseagles, river otters, geese, ducks,owls, deer, to name a few,” saidBonnie.Hours of operation are Mondaythrough Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. andSunday from 1-5 p.m. “We areopen 6-1/2 days a week. We are notopen on Sunday morning so our families can attend church,” com-mented Bonnie.For more information, visitwww.auglaizecanoe.com or check outAuglaize Canoe on Facebook. Theycan be reached at 419-594-3456.
The Auglaize Canoe livery is opened every day beginning in May. On a warm summer Saturday the weekend river traffic will enjoy one of the four different trips offered.
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