By Abby Ditomassi
When you visualize a garden, you probably picture one full of lilies, poppies, and daisies with different bright colors like pinks, yellows, and red. Although beautiful to look at, those types of gardens will not attract much of the wildlife that we can see while venturing out on the trails. To do that, we must mimic the environments of Ohio by planting many different native plants that provide shelter, shade, or food. Then, in no time, creatures that you have never encountered before will start to move into your very own wildlife garden!
If you have visited Deer Haven Park you have already seen a garden full of native plants that attract many pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. You might also have stumbled across our insect hotel, made from cement bricks, wooden pallets, rocks, and branches, which attracts many of the creepy crawling spiders, ladybugs, slugs, and ants. However, we have new guests to our garden that even our naturalists have never encountered in the wild before, let alone in our very own garden!
An injured least weasel was noticed by guests walking the path outside the garden, so we took him to the Ohio Wildlife Center where he passed away. However, that evening many other weasels were seen playing and burrowing in the garden! Since weasels are normally solitary animals, we assume that they are young kits that have made a burrow in our garden! If you walk slowly and quietly up to the center, you may get a chance to see one of these secretive predators.
Want to learn more about what might be living in the parks? Register and pick up a Summer Letterbox Adventure booklet at any Delaware County library, or at Shale Hollow or Deer Haven Park. You’ll discover a guided scavenger hunt with clues that will lead you to hidden boxes along the trails, and introduce you to some of the cool wildlife in the parks.