A Nature Walk for Walktober
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Nearly 30 people, including 10 children, took advantage of a beautiful fall evening to take a 45-minute nature walk in Mill Race Park on October 4th. The Nature Walk was one of a series of events organized by Healthy Communities to promote the many benefits of walking during the month of October, or “WALKtober”.
The walk was led by Art Hopkins, a local landscape architect, horticulture teacher, self described “tree-hugger” and Scout leader. The walk took place in Mill Race Park, including a stretch of the People Trail along the Flat Rock River.
It was evident that Art related well to the children who joined the walk. They were attentive and curious, asking many questions.
Art pointed out many tree species such as hackberry, sycamore, cottonwood, osage orange, black walnut and silver maple.
Art also shared some interesting facts about the plant life in the park, such as poison ivy, white snakeroot, knotweed, and wild strawberry. Most of us know that contact with poison ivy can cause humans to break out into a rash, but how many of us know that the berries on poison ivy plants are full of lipids that are an important source of nutrients needed by many species of birds for fall migration? And did you know that white snakeroot is believed to be the indirect cause of the death of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the mother of Abraham Lincoln? She is believed to have been poisoned by milk produced by a cow that ate the wild snakeroot plant.
Art pointed out that non-native, invasive plant species - he showed us the Asian Honeysuckle prevalent in the park as an example - can crowd out native plant species on which birds and animals depend for food.
The nature walk illustrated the wide variety of trees, plant life and animals that can be observed in our local environment if we take the time to walk and look at our surroundings.
We thank Art Hopkins for volunteering his time to lead the Nature Walk. Art Hopkins is a Landscape Architect who offers his clients either a short consultation (one or a few hours) or a full-scale complete design. You can contact him at (812)372-2862 for more information.