Fun topics related to outdoors and nature.

Happy Trails: Campgrounds Opening

March and April mark the beginning of a new camping season so break out your backpacks and get outside.  Great Parks of Hamilton County will open several parks in the coming weeks.

Reservations can be made online at for Winton Woods and Miami Whitewater Forest Campgrounds at

A valid Great Parks of Hamilton County motor vehicle permit ($10 annual; $3 daily) is required to enter the parks. Armleder and Fernbank Parks are cooperative ventures with the Cincinnati Park Board; a Motor Vehicle Permit is not required.

For additional information, please visit or call 521-7275.


Winton Woods Campground opens March 4

Winton Woods Campground is set in a pine grove alongside Winton Woods Lake and is within easy walking distance of Winton Woods Harbor, and the boathouse, snack bar and wet playground. The campground is located approximately 20 minutes north of downtown Cincinnati and 30 minutes south of Kings Island amusement park.

More info about Winton Woods Campground


Miami Whitewater Forest Campground opens March 4

For a quiet, scenic spot to relax and set up camp, visit Miami Whitewater Forest Campground. Located 30 minutes northwest of downtown Cincinnati, this campground is set back in a wooded area on more than 4,000 acres in Miami Whitewater Forest within walking distance to a harbor and 85-acre lake. Each of the 46 sites is equipped with 30 amp electric hookups, picnic table and fire ring. A newly renovated shower building, playground and dump station are also located within the campground.

More info about Miami Whitewater Campground


Steamboat Bend Campground opens April 1

Steamboat Bend is conveniently located in 1,030 acre Woodland Mound on the east side of Cincinnati near the intersection of Route 52 and Nine Mile Road. Only 20 minutes from downtown Cincinnati and five minutes from the Riverbend Music Center, this beautiful campground sits on the shores of the scenic Ohio River and features 55 tree-lined campsites, many with a panoramic view. Each site features water and 30 amp electric hookups, picnic table and fire ring. There is also a sanitary dump station located within the campground for registered campers use.

More info about Steamboat Bend Campground in Woodland Mound Park

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, Happy Trails, OAC News|

Happy Trails: Gardening for Recess

Twice a week at Malcom Elementary School in Laguna Niguel, children like Heather Smith can’t wait to skip their lunchtime recess.

Instead of a game of four square or basketball on the playground, they stream into their school’s garden, push up their sleeves and get to work.

On this Thursday in late fall, that work is thinning and transplanting lettuce seedlings and planting carrot and radish seeds in the ground. Some kids scurry around on a “botany scavenger hunt,” using magnifying glasses to examine leaves’ shapes and characteristics.

Malcom Elementary was one of the first schools to participate in the Grow Your Own! organic garden program through the nonprofit Ecology Center ( in San Juan Capistrano.

“I don’t know of a school garden movement that’s bigger historically than what’s happening today. People are recognizing that simply learning in the classroom isn’t enough. That connection to the outdoors is essential to developing a whole education,” said Meg Hiesinger, who directs the Grow Your Own! program.

In 2010, the American Heart Association established a teaching gardens program with the goal of improving eating habits and cardiovascular health. The program operates more than 300 gardens nationwide, including 40 across Southern California. In Orange County, it has gardens at 14 schools in Garden Grove, Anaheim and Santa Ana.

The Heart Association has developed 35 garden-based lesson plans serving kindergarten through fifth grade, which it shares with educators, and maintains an online Garden Community (gardencommunity.heart .org) to answer questions and connect parents and teachers with resources.

read the whole article here

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, Happy Trails, OAC News|

Happy Trails: Four Amazing Reasons…To Spend More Time Outside

If you spent your last weekend of summer camping or hiking or even relaxing on the beach, it may have looked like your fellow Americans were coming out in droves to spend time in the “Great Outdoors.” Unfortunately, while three-day weekends tend to bring out the outdoor-lover in all of us, studies show that both kids and adults are spending considerably less time outdoors than is healthy – far less than they were a decade ago.

A recent survey conducted by The Nature Conservancy indicated that only 10 percent of teenagers in the United States spend time outdoors every day. Statistics coming from the Environmental Protection Agency suggest adults and children spend 90 percent of their life indoors.

So, why should we be concerned about this? Being indoors is comfortable and entertaining (hello, Netflix!), but spending time in nature is just as important. There is a plethora of research that shows spending time in nature is incredibly beneficial to the health and well-being of people. Think about the last time you were outdoors, did you feel stressed, overwhelmed with deadlines or tied to your ringing cell phone? Chances are no.

In fact, we would wager that spending that time surrounded by trees, flowers, and other living creatures left you not only feeling refreshed and calm – but you started to feel a little more appreciative of the natural world. Here are 4 great reasons we all need to get outside:

1. Natural Environments Improve Mental Health
2. Time Outdoors Helps You Think Clearly
3. Physical Health and the Outdoors
4. Conserving the Natural World

Read the full article in One Green Planet here.

2017-01-13T02:59:04+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, Happy Trails, OAC News|

Happy Trails: Enjoy Nature All Winter

There are so many fun activities to do outside in the winter. Many people in other parts of the world have never built a snowman or even seen snow!

Skating on an outdoor rink, skiing, or just walking through a park trying to identify animal prints in the snow are all winter wonders. Don’t hide from the winter weather — embrace it! You just need a few extra steps to keep yourself safe and warm during winter activities. Just as it’s important to be safe during the summer, such as wearing sunscreen and a hat and drinking plenty of water, there are things to think about in the winter.

SmartRisk suggests that you remember C-O-L-D (see the “Be Cold-Smart” link below for full details):

* Cover your head, neck and face.
* Overexertion leads to sweating, which causes damp or wet clothing.
* Layer clothing to protect against wind and cold.
* Dry. Wear waterproof clothing and insulated, waterproof boots and gloves.

It definitely takes a bit longer to get dressed to go outside in the winter, but it’s worth it. An outing in the winter can energize you.

Being Smart About Winter

* Check the weather before you head out.
Winter weather can change very quickly, especially in mountain areas. Check the local forecast and be prepared. Remember that you will have to come back the same distance you go out. Consider this when thinking about how long you want to be outside.

* Be aware of the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Look for white or grey skin as the beginning signs of frostbite. Some signs of hypothermia include cold or pale skin, uncontrollable shivering and stumbling.

* Tell someone where you are going.
In the winter, whether you’re going for a stroll around the neighbourhood or a hike in the mountains, make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If you have a cell phone, take it with you.

Winter offers a unique chance to be active. Don’t let cold temperatures be a barrier to getting out there.

2017-01-13T02:59:05+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, Happy Trails, OAC News|

Happy Trails: Hiking With Kids

While some people think their days of hiking are “on hold” once they become parents, that’s just not the case! There are still plenty of adventures ahead for both parents and children.

If you’re a hiker with young children, you don’t have to put your hobby on hold until they head for college. And if you’re a parent who is new to hiking, there couldn’t be a better time to start! Spending time on the trail offers a world of opportunity for family outings and vacations. Not only will your family grow closer, but you can introduce the next generation to all that trails offer for personal growth and education while making life-long family memories.

One of the keys things to remember when hiking with children is that the trek no longer becomes about getting from point A to point B, but more about exploring the trail and what is on it.

Read the full article from the American Hiking Society Here.

2017-01-13T02:59:05+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, Happy Trails, OAC News|

Recap: Outdoor Adventure Day in Loveland

Outdoor Adventure Clubs is off to a great fundraising start with the success of “Outdoor Adventure Day in Loveland” on Thursday, October 15th.  In support of the event, three Loveland restaurants (Julian’s Deli and Spirits, Tano’s Bistro and Catering, and Paxton’s Grill) contributed 20% of their daily revenue to benefit Outdoor Adventure Clubs.

“Outdoor Adventure Day” also featured a raffle table with items provided by Loveland businesses, including a bicycle donated by Montgomery Cyclery and a kayak donated by Loveland Canoe and Kayak.  OACGC’s display was real showstopper, attracting the attention of outdoor enthusiasts and novices alike.  With the help of numerous OACGC staff members, board members, and club advisors, we were able to run the raffle table throughout the weekend.  Over three days, OACGC engaged with everyone from restaurant patrons to half-marathon runners about our work and impact in the Cincinnati area.

Thank you to everyone who took time to visit Loveland to eat, drink and shop to get more urban kids out into nature!  Together our efforts raised over $2,000 for Outdoor Adventure Clubs!

2017-01-13T02:59:06+00:00 Categories: Director's Blog, Happy Trails, OAC News|