A YEAR OF C E L E B R AT I O N S THE NATURE OF CHANGE:
Celebrating 25 Years of Environmental Education
Storied Past, Bright Future
HE CONSER VA CY
OUR CUYAHOGA RIVER:
MAGAZINE SPRING / SUMMER 2019, VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2
Lisa and Thom Mandel’s Corner of the World 1
MAGAZINE SPRING / SUMMER 2019, VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2
STUDENTS AT THE CUYAHOGA VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER ROAST MARSHMALLOWS TO UNWIND AFTER A NIGHT HIKE. PHOTO: ZAINA SALEM COVER PHOTO: ZAINA SALEM
A LETTER FROM THE CONSERVANCY CEO
This is a big year for the Conservancy and we invite you to celebrate with us! CONNECTING YOU TO YOUR NATIONAL PARK. PRESERVING IT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.
Throughout 2019 we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center (CVEEC). When CVEEC opened to schools for the first time in March of 1994, it was cutting-edge in its design and curriculum. It had a computer lab with brand new (and rather large) computers, used by students to enter data from the water samples they collected on their Cuyahoga River visit. The science lab had video microscopes that allowed a learning group to view on a TV monitor the micro and macroinvertebrates they found in the pond on campus. In 1994 only about 3% of schools had internet access, but at the CVEEC, students were using the World Wide Web to share water quality data with other park sites. Today, mobile technology is used for recording data. The computer lab is now regular classroom space and a library. Connecting children with nature is more important than ever as an alternative to spending time in front of screens. Although educational methodology may have changed in the last 25 years, the magic of hearing an owl call at night or finding tadpoles in a pond has not. Fifty years ago the environmental movement came into its own on the banks of the Cuyahoga River when our country, as well as people around the world, said “enough!” to seeing a waterway catch on fire. We are joining with others in our community to celebrate how far we’ve come with water quality improvements and to challenge us to go even further. In Cleveland, the burning of the river was a symbol for environmental injustice, and as we look to the future, we need to make sure that all people have access to clean air and water, to parks and healthy recreational opportunities. The Conservancy is leading several key activities in this regional celebration that emphasize the 20 miles of river protected by the national park and the importance of equitable access to a healthy environment. Finally, we look forward to celebrating the opening of the new Boston Mill Visitor Center later in the year. At last, our national park will have a central visitor center that will welcome people to the place we love, complete with engaging exhibits and helpful information. Our park turns 45 years old on December 29th, and we will end the year with a toast to the future of Cuyahoga Valley National Park!
Deb Yandala, Conservancy CEO
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 SPRING + SUMMER 2019
WHAT WE DO: EDUCATION
Provide transformative experiences at the Cuyahoga Valley
Provide visitor services, including event facilities, lodging,
Environmental Education Center, including overnight and
and stores. Surrounded by rolling meadows and woodland
day programs that connect children to the natural wonders
vistas, our beautiful and historic buildings provide cozy
and rich history of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
rusticity and modern amenities.
Co-manage the park’s award-winning volunteer program,
Raise money for national park projects and life-changing
where kids, families, and adults of all ages can find their
programs and activities, as well as Cuyahoga Valley National
volunteer niche with over 100 different ways to help preserve
Park’s 100+ miles of trails. Opportunities to give back include
Cuyahoga Valley National Park for future generations.
fundraising events, one-time donations, sponsoring an acre, memorial gifts, and more.
Foster a rich cultural arts program through music, art, adult education, and more.
Spring + Summer 2019, Volume 4: Issue 2
James Nash, Board Chair Dione Alexander, Board Vice-Chair Joe Blanda Ron Bower Christopher Buehler Debby Capela Deborah Cook Harold Gaar Michael L. Hardy Matthew Heinle Emily Holiday Jane Howington Sue Klein Kathy Leavenworth Phillip LiBassi Gary M. Lobaza Jeremy M. Long Shawn Lyden Mark Masuoka Stephen Metzler Elizabeth Piatt Brett W. Reynolds Curt Reynolds Irving Sugerman
CONTACT US 1403 West Hines Hill Road Peninsula Ohio 44264 330-657-2909 forCVNP.org
EXECUTIVE STAFF Deb Yandala Chief Executive Officer Janice Matteucci Chief Operating Officer John P. Debo, Jr. Chief Development Officer Katie Wright Director of Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center
EDITOR Zaina Salem
DESIGN Agnes Studio
Karyn Sullivan Rick Taylor Teleangé Thomas
© 2019 CONSERVANCY FOR CVNP
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 EDUCATION
THE NATURE OF
CHANGE The Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center celebrates 25 years, looks forward to innovation WRITTEN BY JOANNA RICHARDS, MIKE UVA, AND ZAINA SALEM
PHOTO: ZAINA SALEM
What can dirt, bugs and birds do for a teenager struggling with a slew of mental health diagnoses, a difficult family life, and shaky prospects for high school graduation?
says Ian Hurt, an alumnus of the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center. Ian has some personal challenges that caused him to struggle academically. He’d spent three years in specialized classes, but eventually returned to regular classes. He still fell behind academically, and Akron Public Schools had identified him as at risk of dropping out before high school graduation. On the advice of a middle school guidance counselor, Hurt agreed to try an intervention program meant to help students like him.
IAN HURT, ALUMNUS OF THE CUYAHOGA VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER PHOTO: LISA PATESEL PHOTOGRAPHY
The Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center’s Summer Academy begins the June before students enter high school, with a two-week immersive day program. It’s designed to give teens exposure to nature, not just for fun, but also for the skills and strengths that come with taking part in outdoor activities. Hurt and his family hoped that it would help him come out of his shell. It didn’t start off well. “The first couple of days I was kind of like, ‘Ugh! Why did I choose to do this?’ It’s hot, I don’t like it. There are mosquitoes,” Hurt said. But today, a freshman in college, he credits his experience at Cuyahoga Valley National Park with helping him transform.
“Ian just opened up and became so much more confident,” said Amanda Schuster, Associate Director at the Education Center. “His first year I don’t think I ever observed him talking to people or making eye contact with anyone. At the end of the day, Ian was the one challenging himself to do these things that eventually engendered this huge change in him,” she said. Hurt admits he wasn’t the most motivated middle schooler in the world. “If I didn’t join the program, I probably wouldn’t have had a goal set going into high school.” Through the Education Center’s programming, Ian Hurt developed an interest in earth science, and then in education. He started working as a program assistant, helping teach the younger children. “When you work with little kids, you kind of go back and you think of yourself at that age. So I think just being around bubbly little 5- to 7-year-olds, it’s kind of rewarding,” Hurt said. He is now studying criminal justice and human service through Colorado Technical University, and is planning to become a social worker. “I’ve kind of had to stop and appreciate life, and I just feel like I want to work with people who might be in similar situations,” he said.
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 EDUCATION
that suggest unstructured outdoor play may be helpful for some children with ADHD. Although much of the teaching happens outdoors throughout 500 acres of trails, technology is providing valuable new tools for students at the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center. Field instructors at the Education Center encourage kids to explore and engage with nature in a meaningful way by integrating the already familiar technological tools with the natural environment. Whether they’re capturing experiences on GoPro cameras, uploading water-quality data on iPads, or posting videos through YouTube to share with their classmates, kids who visit the Education Center can learn to become both environmentally and technologically literate. At the Education Center, kids can even learn about geography, geology, and hydrologic concepts with an augmented reality sandbox—a hands-on sandbox exhibit combined with 3D visuals that augment in real time. WITH AN AUGMENTED REALITY SANDBOX, STUDENTS AT THE CUYAHOGA VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER LEARN ABOUT GEOGRAPHY AND TOPOGRAPHY CONCEPTS THROUGH HANDSON INTERACTION. PHOTO: ZAINA SALEM
LESS SCREENTIME, MORE GREEN-TIME
their days immersed in screens. According to a study done by the non-profit organization Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of nine hours per day on screens. The average is nearly six hours per day for children between the ages of eight and 12.
Through the Conservancy’s education programs, kids who might ordinarily be sitting down and staring at screens can exercise both their bodies and their attention spans.
Too much screen time can have harmful effects on kids’ bodies and brains. Studies show that too much screen time is linked to depression, obesity, and a variety of other diseases.
“We don’t allow them to just be on their phones or their social media,” Schuster said.
These statistics may seem discouraging, but there is an easy remedy: the outdoors. There is research that shows that spending time outdoors is beneficial for both physical and mental health. There are even studies
It’s no surprise that children these days are spending more and more time isolated from nature, spending
Katie Wright, Director of the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center, differentiates these high-tech accessories from the screens that are the mainstay of everyday life, noting that technology separates children from one another. “We encourage students not to bring their phones so that they can really connect to the experiences here and their classmates and teachers. You definitely see students going through a bit of detox from their devices that first day,” she said. “When they’re in a residential, experiential-learning center like ours, living with their peers and teachers, sharing meals and going through challenges together, whether it’s a rainy hike or trying to solve a problem, they’re learning to work as a team and move through tough situations. And that’s something they can’t get from technology alone.”
EXPLORING NATURE UP-CLOSE, STUDENTS CONDUCT FOUR TESTS TO DETERMINE THE HEALTH OF THE CUYAHOGA RIVER. PHOTO: ZAINA SALEM
Outdoor experiences, unstructured and unpredictable compared to the daily routine of indoor electronics, can be emotionally challenging, but those same challenges and risks build students’ self-confidence and willingness to try new things. Schuster said this is especially true for kids who live in the city and can’t wrap their head around unbridled wilderness, where being in a forest, doing academic activities outside may be new and outside of their comfort zone. “When they’re able to succeed in that, you’re talking about self-efficacy and self-confidence,” Schuster said.
INNOVATING IN NATURE Katie Wright, who started her career as a field instructor in 1997, is looking forward to what the future holds for the Education Center. “I was able to be a part of the developmental years at the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center, and now I get to be a part of celebrating our history and transforming our future,” Wright said. The Education Center is taking steps toward becoming nimble and innovative in its approaches towards education, re-evaluating its program curriculum to stay relevant and continue serving as a leader among residential learning centers. Historically, the curriculum has had set units for schools that stay there; now, it’s more flexible, offering a large pool of topics for teachers to pull from to create a unique experience for their students. Teachers can
decide if they want to focus on watersheds for water quality, or if they just want a team-building activity. The Education Center is also expanding its culinary program and boasts a kitchen garden with a hoop house, a type of greenhouse made from large hoops or bows that can grow plants and food year-round. “Over the years, we’ve changed how we feed our students, and switched to making everything from scratch,” Wright said. “Through cooking and gardening classes, we’re working to help our students do those things on their own.” Despite these changes, the Cuyahoga River and watershed stewardship will remain the focus of the Education Center’s curriculum. “The Cuyahoga River has been a catalyst for the water-quality movement around the world,” Wright said. “It’s important for students in Northeast Ohio to have an opportunity to learn about water quality and take steps to protect our waterways.”
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 EDUCATION A new service-learning initiative at the park is an opportunity for students and teachers to do just that. The Environmental Education Center and the Volunteer Management office (VMO) are partnering on implementing a new component to “All the Rivers Run,” the Education Center’s flagship program. “All the Rivers Run” is a multi-day overnight learning adventure for fourth through eighth graders. The program takes place on the Education Center campus and in the surrounding national park and is offered nearly every week of the school year. Children enjoy a rare opportunity to live and learn in their national park while participating in outdoor learning activities about environmental sustainability, focusing on the Cuyahoga River watershed. “The core curriculum of ‘All the Rivers Run’ has served students well for over 20 years, but a new era of changing technology, environmental issues, and school expectations presents a need for real-world experiences in environmental restoration,” said Wright. The new grant-funded servicelearning component will give students the opportunity to plant native trees in CVNP as their final capstone experience for the week, putting the ideas and concepts they learned during the program into action. In addition to the positive impact this new program element will have on students, the project will improve environmental conditions for wildlife, insects, and native plants in the park as well. It will also reduce soil erosion and stormwater runoff and increase CVNP’s resilience to changes in climate by capturing and storing greenhouse gases. The Environmental Education Center’s future is looking as bright as its students. Wright hopes that it can continue to provide deep learning opportunities for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds,
AS PART OF A NEW SERVICE-LEARNING INITIATIVE, STUDENTS AT THE CUYAHOGA VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER PLANT NATIVE TREES IN CVNP TO PUT WHAT THEY LEARNED INTO ACTION. PHOTO: ZAINA SALEM
and help students connect with their natural environment. “When I think about reaching a 25-year milestone, it is amazing to reflect on where we started and how far we have come,” Wright said. “I hope that every child can walk away knowing that they can be successful learners and empowered to become our communities’ next generation of problem-solvers, while keeping the health of our environment in mind. I hope that each of those students leaves just a little more curious about the world they live in.”
OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS,
75,000 youth have left their urban and suburban environments to experience extraordinary education programs at the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center. An important part of the Conservancy’s mission is to ensure every child who wants to attend these programs can, regardless of ability to pay. The annual Lobster Clambake and Auction fundraiser helps these children make memories in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Thanks to donors like you, the Conservancy raised $83,500 at the Clambake fundraiser last year. This year, the event will be held on Sunday, September 22. With your help, we look forward to providing children with extraordinary opportunities to learn and grow in their national park.
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 FORCVNP.ORG
“I’m so excited about what kind of change can be enabled because of connecting the dots…”
OUTDOOR EDUCATION PROVIDES NEW EXPERIENCES FOR MANY CHILDREN WHO HAVE NEVER RIDDEN A BIKE, SEEN A FISH IN THE WILD, OR EVEN LOOKED AT A LAKE. Jason Labovitz, a teacher from North Ridgeville, has been involved with parks since his own childhood, and will soon be taking students to the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center for the first time.
“A big part of me didn’t want to practice as an architect,” Labovitz said. “I didn’t have any friends in Ohio, my family didn’t live in Ohio anymore, but I wanted to go back and work in the park.”
With Cuyahoga Valley National Park being within an hour drive of the two urban areas of Akron and Cleveland, Labovitz recognizes the unique opportunity the Education Center has to link children to natural spaces.
For Labovitz, the CVEEC is where his passion for environmental education grew. His relationship with the Education Center began in 1994 as a fourth-grade camper. In undergrad, he became a camp counselor for two summers, and came back several years later as a lead counselor. It just so happens that it was also the place where he met the woman who would become his wife.
That summer, he got his job as a lead counselor, and that’s when he knew he wanted to teach. He is now in his fourth year of educating children.
“I’m so excited about what kind of change can be enabled because of connecting the dots,” he said.
Labovitz was a student in Chicago getting his master’s degree in architecture when he realized he needed a break from the city.
Labovitz first realized the disconnect children had with nature when he took his students to the lake one day. “When they asked me if it was the Atlantic Ocean I was like, ‘Well, whatever we’re doing in the classroom, it’s wrong.’ They thought we couldn’t possibly still be in Ohio; in reality, we were fifteen minutes from the school.”
Labovitz is looking forward to singing camp songs with his students and reminiscing about special moments he had at the Education Center.
PHOTO: JERRY JELINEK
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 SPRING + SUMMER 2019
WRITE THE NATIONAL PARK INTO YOUR LIFE STORY. Create a lasting impact by making a bequest to the Conservancy to protect and preserve Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Your gift today will ensure future generations can enjoy the park you love. Include the Conservancy in your will. Visit forcvnp.org/bequests or call John Debo, Chief Development Officer, at 330-657-2909 ext. 122 to start a conversation.
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 ENVIRONMENT
OUR CUYAHOGA RIVER STORIED PAST, BRIGHT FUTURE
“We in Cleveland WRITTEN BY ZAINA SALEM sit on the banks of a river and lake which has IN 30 MINUTES, you can walk your dog or catch up on the evening go grocery shopping or take a nap. It might take you 30 minutes to watch become almost news, your favorite sitcom, read a magazine, do a load of laundry or drive to work. legendary, On June 22, 1969, 30 minutes was how long it took for the very last fire in the Cuyahoga River to burn. not only in the These 30 minutes consequently led to 50 years of growth, rehabilitation and United States, prosperity of our beloved river. What followed that short half hour was not only a transformation for a local river, but an environmental movement for a nation. but abroad.” Although we see the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River today as a symbol of — MAYOR CARL STOKES, 1970
renewal, Cleveland did not immediately see it as an ecological crisis. Stories that initially ran in the newspapers following the fire focused on the damage that was done to two railroad trestles, rather than the actual river burning. The Plain Dealer ran a front-page photo with the caption “River Fire Damages Trestle.” Since the local press had little reaction to the fire, the national press ignored the event altogether. None of the major U.S. newspapers produced a story on the Cuyahoga River that June. It wasn’t until later that year that our burning river became part of a broader story of a worldwide environmental crisis—when local coverage from environmental reporter Betty Klaric was picked up by national outlets. A short feature in Time magazine appeared in August with the headline, “The Cities: The Price of Optimism” and in it listed several troubled urban waterways. The Potomac, Missouri, Hudson, Milwaukee, Buffalo were some of the rivers featured, but “among the worst of all,” the article declared, “is the 80-mile-long Cuyahoga.” “Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than flows,” the Time article described. It was a turning point for Cleveland, and the nation.
THE CUYAHOGA RIVER GLEAMS ON A SUMMER DAY AT THE STUMPY BASIN. PHOTO: JEFFREY GIBSON
MAYOR CARL B. STOKES SPEAKS WITH BETTY KLARIC AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON RAILROAD BRIDGE BURNED WHEN OIL ON CUYAHOGA RIVER CAUGHT FIRE, 1969 PHOTO: MICHAEL SCHWARTZ LIBRARY, CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY
VISIT CUYAHOGA50.ORG TO VIEW A DIRECTORY OF COMMUNITY EVENTS, EXHIBITS, PERFORMANCES, AND CONFERENCES FROM VARIOUS PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS
Carl Stokes, the mayor of Cleveland at the time, used the national attention to his advantage. In April of 1970, Stokes went to Washington to testify before Congress in support of a bill that would increase federal spending on water pollution control. “We in Cleveland sit on the banks of a river and lake which has become almost legendary, not only in the United States, but abroad.” Later that fall, Carl’s brother, Louis Stokes, represented Cleveland in Congress and introduced a bill in the House that would permit the Army Corps of Engineers to “investigate, study, and undertake measures in the interests of flood control, recreation, fish and wildlife, water quality, and environmental quality” on the Cuyahoga River. His efforts in directing federal funds toward cleaning up the river were successful, and for the next several years the Amy Corps conducted the study and made some improvements. Although the environmental movement was not a direct consequence of the 1969 fire, it did help spark important milestones. In 1970, the Environmental Protection Act was signed, and later that same year, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. More and more people were becoming aware of America’s water pollution problem, which led to the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. Under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Cuyahoga River was one of 43 sites named as an Area of Concern, “waters in the U.S. and Canada that have experienced environmental degradation and are impaired in their ability to support aquatic life or beneficial uses,” and required a Remedial Action Plan to fix the problems.
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 ENVIRONMENT
50 YEARS LATER PHOTO: JEFFREY GIBSON
SLOWLY BUT SURELY, THE RIVER BEGAN TO RECOVER. Fifty years later, we can reflect on those brief 30 minutes in 1969 and recognize just how much of an impact it actually made. Today, our majestic river supports fish and insects that feed birds and amphibians. It is even being used recreationally by surrounding communities. Envisioning this scene years ago would’ve seemed impossible. With the help of dozens of partners, restoration of the river will continue with ongoing projects including remediation of sewer overflows, education and outreach for watershed stewardship, and even a designated water trail. One notable effort to improve water quality is the removal of dams that dot the Cuyahoga River. Dams were once seen as strictly beneficial to society and were built to serve needs such as the production of electricity and to back-up water for residential and industrial use. Most of the dams on the Cuyahoga River became obsolete
as new methods were created, and now dams such as the Brecksville Dam and Gorge Dam pose threats to water quality and wildlife. Dams negatively impact water quality by reducing dissolved oxygen, trapping toxins, preventing fish passage, altering the aquatic food web, and more. The removal of the Gorge and Brecksville Dams will be a win for the Cuyahoga River, returning it to its natural flow.
The Conservancy is excited to commemorate this event by hosting the first annual Neo-Soul and Jazz on the River, featuring Grammy-award nominee Eric Roberson. Visit Cuyahoga50.org to view a directory of community events, exhibits, performances, and conferences from various participating organizations.
Although we’ve come a long way, clean water still faces threats, both locally and nationally. This 50-year anniversary presents an opportunity for all of us to celebrate the progress we’ve made, but also to celebrate what’s to come. On June 22, the Conservancy joins the local community in celebrating the 50th anniversary of that infamous day, and the extraordinary transformation of our Cuyahoga River. Throughout the year, you will see hundreds of events commemorating the anniversary, with the pinnacle of events taking place from June 19–23.
CURRENT PROJECTS ON THE CUYAHOGA CUYAHOGA RIVER WATER TRAIL A water trail is the aquatic equivalent of a hiking trail which will make the Cuyahoga River accessible for everyone to enjoy its health and beauty. A designated water trail not only provides recreational opportunities, but also has environmental, social, and economic benefits for the surrounding communities.
BRECKSVILLE DAM REMOVAL The Brecksville Dam was first built in 1827 to divert water from the Cuyahoga River into the Ohio & Erie Canal, and then rebuilt in 1952 to provide water for industry in Cuyahoga Heights. While the dam is a part of our river’s history, it nonetheless negatively affects water quality and aquatic life. Removal of the dam will not only improve water quality, oxygen levels and river flow, but will also welcome fish species not seen upriver in decades, as well as canoers and kayakers.
STANFORD RUN The Stanford Run tributary doesn’t appear on most maps, but its restoration is essential to the Cuyahoga River’s health. Over the years, Stanford Run has been progressively clogging with sediment, which blocks the creek from flowing into the river and causes flooding. The project will restore Stanford Run to its original path and allow its free flow into the Cuyahoga.
CUYAHOGA VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER Part of the solution to a clean, healthy river is instilling awareness and appreciation of our waterway among our future leaders. As a flagship program of the Conservancy, the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center takes on a thematic, hands-on approach to learning centered around the Cuyahoga River watershed.
OHIO CANAL INTERCEPTOR TUNNEL This 27-foot wide, 6,200-foot long tunnel is part of a federal EPA mandate for Akron to keep sewage from mixing with storm water and contaminating the Cuyahoga River. The tunnel will control combined sewer overflow at nine separate locations, and will store over 25 million gallons of combined sewer overflow.
GORGE DAM REMOVAL On the border between Akron and Cuyahoga Falls lies the Gorge Dam, first created in 1913 to produce hydroelectric power. Then in 1958, it began to be used as a source of cooling water for a coal-fired power plant. For 23 years, the dam has served no power-generation purposes and is contributing to the impairment of aquatic life. Removing the Gorge Dam will restore natural conditions to the Cuyahoga River.
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 ENVIRONMENT
UNSUNG HERO If there are specific people to credit for spearheading the environmental movement, Betty Klaric would be one of them. BETTY KLARIC HOLDING WATER SAMPLE FROM CUYAHOGA RIVER PHOTO: MICHAEL SCHWARTZ LIBRARY, CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY
Klaric was born in Yorkville, Ohio in 1931 and earned her journalism degree at the Ohio State University. She started her career as a “copy boy” in 1955 at the Cleveland Press, covering PTA and club functions until she persuaded editors to give her one of the first full-time environmental beats at a daily newspaper. In 1964, she began the eight-year “Save Lake Erie Now” campaign with the Cleveland Press, which included articles, editorials, seminars for officials, and a coalition called Citizens for Clean Air and Water. From 1964 to 1972, Klaric led one of the most
successful campaigns in environmental history, which helped educate the public about water pollution. Her writings also encouraged citizens to clean up the lake and its tributaries, the Cuyahoga River being one of them.
Klaric passed away in 2011, but left us with a positive view for the future of the environment. Two years before her death at age 77, she said: “The environmental movement has become a business, and it’s not going anywhere.”
Not only were Klaric’s articles effective locally, but they helped shape public opinion nationally as well. Her words were included in a U.S. House of Representatives Committee Report, and even reached President Richard Nixon who awarded her a Presidential Commendation for “outstanding newspaper reporting on pollution problems.”
LISA & THOM MANDELâ€™S CORNER OF THE WORLD WRITTEN BY ZAINA SALEM
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 PHILANTHROPY
What happens when two people with a love of the outdoors, a strong desire to connect children to nature, and a fiery passion for philanthropy come together? You get the story of Lisa and Thom Mandel. AS THE SAYING GOES,
it’s all about connections – in the case of both Lisa and Thom, connections to songwriter-folksinger Alex Bevan, who in 1996 created a series of songs that describe the curriculum of the Environmental Education Center. Alex invited both Lisa and Thom to the session when a recording of the first songs were produced in 1996. “He thought both of us would be interested in what he was doing, and he was right,” Thom said. Later that year Alex introduced the two and they realized that they had been at the same recording session. The rest was history.
“We both got involved separately with the Alex Bevan project and we ended up meeting as a result of that,” Lisa said. “So it’s near and dear to our hearts what brought us together.” Since then, they married, had a son, and have both spent years as loyal, longtime supporters of the Conservancy — 25 years to be exact. Since the inception of the Education Center, Lisa and Thom have made it their priority to support connecting children to nature. “What you try to do is you find a corner of the world that you think you can make a difference with, and maybe something that moves you,” Thom said. “The National Park has been near and dear to us. We like that we can help with the educational side of what the Conservancy is doing.” Without missing a beat, Lisa and Thom have stayed true to their promise of making a difference in children’s lives, whether it be through volunteerism or writing a check. But their favorite project to support is the Conservancy's annual fall Clambake, one of three major fundraising events of the year. The Clambake fundraiser raises money for children who will need a scholarship to experience the life-changing education programs at the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center. An important part of the Conservancy’s mission is to ensure every child who wants to attend these programs can, regardless of ability to pay. Throughout the years, Lisa and Thom have been an essential part of making this a reality. Indicative of their devotion to Clambake, Lisa is celebrated for filling seats with friends she brings along to the fundraiser — not just one or two, but many tables full. Lisa always brings at least a group of 28 people to the event, and one year she brought along an astounding 41 people! Both Lisa and Thom are native to Ohio — Lisa from Stow and Thom from Cleveland — and both come from philanthropic families. Since Thom’s father is a self-made billionaire, his family’s philanthropy was often financial, while Lisa’s family focused on volunteerism.
THOM & LISA MANDEL
“ What you try to do is you find a corner of the world that you think you can make a difference with…” “When we got together, we married that capability of doing financial and great amounts of volunteerism in the community. We pick projects that we think are valuable to the community,” Lisa said. Lisa was introduced to the great outdoors when she was just a little girl. She was a Girl Scout in Kindergarten, and by the time she was a teenager, she was leading troops. She camped frequently as she was growing up. Every summer for 15 years, she and her mother would chart a course, trying to hit as many national parks as they could, In high school, she volunteered at her Methodist church. “My mother thought it was important and so that's why I agreed that it was important,” Lisa said. “I have been volunteering with things nature-related ever since.” Her appreciation of nature and philanthropy followed well into her adult life. As a University of Akron college student, she joined a sorority that was highly involved in volunteerism.
“I saw that need out there. That’s where I learned,” she said.
Assistance Program, Old Trail School, and Case Western Reserve University.
For the past 20 years, Lisa has volunteered for roughly 30 different organizations. She received the Barbara Mathews Woman Philanthropist of the Year award late last year, which recognizes a woman who has demonstrated a passionate desire to help others through financial support and service to non-profit organizations. Lisa also received the Women of Distinction award through Girl Scouts of North East Ohio this year.
Beyond this, Thom owns four radio stations, and believes they give him another avenue for community involvement.
Thom, too, has done his fair share of volunteerism. He has provided longstanding leadership in the local Jewish community, once serving as the president of the Shaw Jewish Community Center and chair of the Jewish Community Board of Akron. He is also involved on a national level, sitting on the board of the Jewish Community Center Association. Thom also has provided leadership in the broader community. He has served as president of United Way of Summit County, and currently sits on the boards of Akron's Victim
As longtime supporters of the Conservancy, Lisa and Thom acknowledge that, now more than ever, kids need to understand the importance of preserving our natural earth and green space. “It’s not only something for our grandchildren to worry about, it’s what we have to worry about. We’ve been ignoring nature for too long. We have to make these changes,” Thom said. “This park has some unique characteristics that you don’t see in other parks. There’s no place else where you can see a watershed like you can here. We think it’s very important to educate kids, and we think it’s very important to get the kids who can’t get there out into the park. So, whatever we can do to educate the next generation is worth every penny.”
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VISITOR CENTER UPDATE:
renew, rediscover, retrace, & reconnect 4
If you’ve driven down Boston Mills Road recently, you may have noticed the new Boston Mill Visitor Center has gotten a face lift! Construction work is almost complete, and site work, including exterior painting, took place in April and May.
exhibits will be renew, retrace, rediscover, and reconnect, and will be explored in different ways. In addition, there will be a shop for books and other educational materials, as well as a “front desk” for person-toperson information and questions.
The interior is looking just as good as the exterior, as dry wall installation is underway in all three buildings and nearly complete in the main building.
The National Park Service held several public open houses in late March to get community input on proposed exhibit content. These sessions were well-attended, and much important input was gained. Now, the exhibit designer starts the lengthy exhibit fabrication process, which will carry on until August, when installation begins and is subsequently finished up in September.
Perhaps the most exciting development will be the interpretive exhibits, which will appeal to visitors of different backgrounds, abilities, and experiences. There will be seven primary exhibit areas in the new facility, each serving a particular purpose. The thematic core of these
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 CURRENT PROJECTS
The new Boston Mill Visitor Center is prominently located along the Cuyahoga River, which will be an important part of the exhibits. This year, we join the Northeast Ohio community in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the last Cuyahoga River fire and the subsequent environmental movement. The Visitor Center, set to open this fall, aligns with this celebration of renewal and our community coming together to protect and restore our natural lands and resources.
1. EAST SIDE OF VISITOR CENTER GETTING READY FOR PAINT.
2. HISTORIC STORE FRONT. 3. COLD WINTER DAY LOOKING ACROSS RIVER TO NEW VISITOR CENTER. 4. “MAY BARN” SHELTER TAKING SHAPE. 5. LOOKING SOUTH AT THE NEW SIDING AND STORE FRONT EXTERIOR. 6. “MAY BARN” SHELTER STRUCTURE EARLY IN CONSTRUCTION PROCESS.
The Conservancy’s Calendar of Events For details and locations, visit forCVNP.org/calendar
Fundraisers JUNE 14
Neo-Soul & Jazz on the River featuring Eric Roberson
Music Box Supper Club WHEN: 7:30pm
Neo-Soul & Jazz on the River featuring Eric Roberson
SEPTEMBER 22 Clambake
Volunteer Events Cuyahoga Valley Institute
National Public Lands Day
Make a Difference Day
Women in the Wild: Hiking Wild
2nd TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH
SEPTEMBER 28 OCTOBER 26
JULY 15–19 National Trails Day
JULY 22–26 Junior Ranger Preserve & Protect Summer Camp
JULY 29–AUGUST 2
Junior Ranger Survival Summer Camp
Event details and locations at FORCVNP.ORG/ CALENDAR
VOLUME 4: ISSUE 2 EXTRAS
COMPOSTING: YOUR TRASH IS NATURE’S TREASURE Early last year, the Conservancy
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR COMPOSTING:
partnered with Full Cycle Organics on
1. MAKE YOUR OWN If you don’t want to invest in a fancy compost bin, try
a landfill diversion effort which was implemented at our Extraordinary Spaces as well as the Hines Hill
creating your own by drilling some holes into the sides of an old garbage can.
2. PICK THE PERFECT SPOT Choose a level, well-drained spot, which will ensure that any excess water drains away. Make sure it also gets plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day.
Conservancy headquarters. The program has been quite successful – beginning May 2018 through April 30,
3. PUT THE RIGHT STUFF IN Good things to compost include: vegetable peelings, fruit waste, teabags, plant prunings and grass cuttings, cardboard egg boxes, scrunched up paper, fallen leaves, and crushed eggshells.
2019, the Conservancy has diverted
8,674 POUNDS of waste. That’s equivalent to almost 4 TONS!
4. MAINTAIN YOUR COMPOST Use a shovel or garden fork to turn the pile every
week, and water it as needed. The contents of your compost pile should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge, but you shouldn’t be able to squeeze any excess moisture out of it.
GET TO KNOW CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK (CVNP), OHIO'S ONLY NATIONAL PARK. THE PERFECT LOW IMPACT EXERCISE FOR ALL AGES. LEARN HOW TO ENJOY BEING OUTSIDE, REGARDLESS OF WEATHER. MEET NEW PEOPLE WITH A COMMON LOVE FOR THE OUTDOORS. NEW HIKING FRIENDS! LEAVE YOUR EVERYDAY STRESS AND PROBLEMS BEHIND AND ENJOY THE PEACEFULNESS OF THE OUTDOORS.
BENEFITS OF HIKING SPONSORED BY: THE STAFF AT APPALACHIAN OUTFITTERS ARE EXPERTS ON CVNP AND WOULD LOVE TO HELP YOU GEAR UP FOR HIKING! WE REGULARLY OFFER INTRO TO BACKPACKING, HIKING, AND CAMPING CLINICS, AS WELL AS WILDERNESS FIRST AID. ASK US ABOUT OUR FREE SPRING & FALL CVNP HIKING SERIES! 60 KENDALL PARK RD, PENINSULA, OH 44264 - 330.655.5444 WWW.APPALACHIANOUTFITTERS.COM
1403 West Hines Hill Road Peninsula, Ohio 44264 forCVNP.org
CUYAHOGA RIVER WITH THE BRECKSVILLE-NORTHFIELD BRIDGE PHOTO: SUE SIMENC