Improve your gardening skills this winter with online courses: Valley Views

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — Consider planting a rain garden to collect, filter and absorb runoff from your roof, driveway and lawn this spring. Such gardens can be planted in depressions in your lawn that already tend to collect rainwater, while providing a nice focal point.

To find out how, take a weekly online class this winter, January 31 through March 7, or take a self-paced recorded class available year-round.

Offered by Cuyahoga County and Lake County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Chagrin River Watershed Partners, experienced instructors will provide personalized feedback to help participants design and to set up their own rain garden and become an expert in their neighbourhood.

Topics include site assessment, soil analysis, design, construction, plant selection, mulching and maintenance. Optional field trips to existing nurseries and rain gardens are offered.

Upon completion, graduates will receive a certificate, t-shirt, and sign.

Professional certification is also offered to landscapers and contractors to professionally install rain gardens on residential properties.

The program has trained more than 400 participants in northeast Ohio and has resulted in more than 110 rain gardens, capturing approximately 1.5 million gallons of stormwater each year. In addition, the program has resulted in the creation of about twenty public rain gardens.

In-person classes are also scheduled for Monday, May 2 through June 6 at the Watershed Stewardship Center in Parma, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and Ohio State guidelines regarding COVID-19.

The cost of online courses is $50 for residents wishing to set up their own garden and $75 for professional landscapers. The cost of in-person residential classes is $75. Scholarships are available based on income and need. To register, contact

Learn more about beneficial insects: Join a Zoom program from 7-8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 2 with Master Gardener Jeanne Poremski and the Native Plant Society to see what interesting insects — besides bees and butterflies — will be visiting your seasonal flower garden.

The program is offered jointly by the Geauga County Master Gardeners and the Native Plant Society. Register before February 1 at

Check out the list of upcoming Master Gardener programs on geauga.osu. Contact 440-834-4656.

Become a Master Gardener: Consider becoming an official Master Gardener through The Ohio State University’s Geauga County Extension.

Classes are held from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursdays from February to mid-May. The program fee is $250, which covers all books, materials, handouts, and speaker travel expenses.

Submit your application quickly. Contact for an application or call 440-834-4656. The office is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 14269 Claridon Troy Road in Burton.

Fur Trap in Ohio: Have you ever wondered what life was like for fur trappers in the early 1900s? Learn from costumed naturalist Trevor Wearstler from 1-2 p.m. Saturday, January 29 at the West Woods Nature Center.

Wearstler will discuss the many challenges faced by trappers in their trade and how the landscape has changed since 1803. He will demonstrate ancient leg traps and show a variety of animal skins.

The presentation will take place indoors and will be of interest to ages 12 and up. Register at or 440-286-9516.

Sap Bucket Art: Yes, that’s one thing. From 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, January 28, meet the artists who have created more than 50 works of art from old metal buckets that were once used to collect tree sap to make maple syrup.

Opening night guests at the West Woods Nature Center will be treated to refreshments and live music performed by Mr. Haney, a five-piece band that plays old-time fiddle tunes to liven up a night of fun. winter.

Buckets were used until the park district’s Swine Creek Preserve switched from buckets to tubes for its sap collection.

The resulting community art exhibit, Maple SugART, will remain on display until April 28. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Geauga Arts Council. The West Woods Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except holidays.

Magical creatures in the sky: Children ages 3 to 5, along with their siblings and the adults who care for them, can enjoy an indoor planetarium show centered around the creature constellations Leo the lion and Cygnus the swan on Friday the 4th February or Saturday, February 5.

They will make and take home their own simple telescope.

Face coverings are highly recommended. Register all children and adults present at or 440-286-9516. Observatory Park is located at 10510 Clay St. in Montville.

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