Mark D. Motz is the Community Relations Manager for the Clermont County Park District. A native Cincinnatian, he has worked for more than 25 years as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. Away from work, he enjoys photography, theater and spending time with his nine godchildren.

March 24, 2018

Free pond clinic at Pattison Lodge


BATAVIA – The Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District will offer a free pond clinic for county residents.

The clinic – sponsored by the Clermont County Farm Bureau – runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, at Pattison Park Lodge, 2228 U.S. Highway 50.

For 75 years, SWCD has assisted with installing and managing ponds in Clermont County. Attendees will hear from SWCD staff and a representative from Jones Fish Hatchery in Newtown. Discussion topics will include pond construction, maintenance and safety, with additional information on fish stocking, aeration, weed control, hazardous algae blooms and nuisance wildlife. Stormwater retention ponds will be addressed again during this year’s event.

“Since ponds are not a common natural landscape feature in our area, they need additional maintenance and care to function properly and meet the landowners’ expectations,” said Jake Hahn of SWCD. “Clermont SWCD’s goal is to help construct and maintain a safe, functional and attractive pond.”

To register for the free clinic, please call Clermont SWCD at 513-732-7075. Additional information is available at

pond clinic flyer

Posted in: Uncategorized
March 23, 2018

Kelley Nature Preserve Survey


The Clermont County Park District has a new survey out asking about the user experience at Kelley Nature Preserve.

Please take a few minutes and offer your feedback.

We hope to deliver the best possible experience for guests at every Park District property; we can only do this with your help.

To take the survey, please click here.

Posted in: Uncategorized
March 22, 2018

Asian beetle threat diminished


WASHINGTON D.C. – The United States Department of Agriculture announced the Asian longhorned beetle has been eradicated from Stonelick Township.

The United States Department of Agriculture recently declared Stonelick Township free of the Asian longhorned beetle.

First discovered in southern Stonelick near Batavia Township in the summer of 2012, the infestation was linked to the movement of firewood.

The USDA and Ohio Department of Agriculture removed three affected trees and conducted more than 250,000 tree inspections across both townships, eventually applying chemical treatment to more than 8,700 high-risk trees.

“The invasive pest has caused the loss of more than 147,000 trees in Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Illinois,” according to the USDA release. “The cooperative mission to eliminate this non-native beetles has resulted in success.”

The Ohio Department of Agriculture issued its own release.

“While we are thrilled with the announcement today, we still ask residents to be vigilant and inspect their trees regularly for signs of the beetle,” said Matt Beal, chief of the ODA division of plant health.

Clermont County Park District Naturalist Alyssa Rooks agreed with Beal’s optimism and seconded his caution.

“This is very good news for all of Clermont County, including the Park District,” she said. “With Pattison Park and Sycamore Park in the previously quarantined townships, it is encouraging they have been declared ALB free.

“These parks – as well as our other parks and preserves – protect forested areas which are valuable for wildlife, our rivers and water quality and our community.

“Pattison Park is the home of our sugar bush. We definitely want to preserve our maple trees, which are most often the victims of ALB infestations. We all need to stay vigilant, remember to not relocate firewood and keep an eye on our trees. The spread of this beetle would be devastating to our forests.”

The success in Stonelick Township doesn’t mean the ALB threat is completely removed from Clermont County. East Fork State Park, Tate Township and portions of Monroe and Williamsburg townships remain under quarantine.

Both the USDA and ODA urged residents to inspect trees – maple, buckeye, willow and elm are particular targets – for signs including perfectly round exit holes left by emerging beetles, pockmarks on tree trunks and branches where eggs are laid, and wood shavings or sawdust where larvae tunnel.

To report signs of Asian longhorned beetles, visit

Posted in: Uncategorized
March 21, 2018

Naturalists learn more about predators


Clermont County Park District Lead Naturalist Jana Marshall, left, and Naturalist Alyssa Rooks pose at the base of an enormous sycamore tree on a break during the Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference March 6 at Ohio State University in Columbus.

COLUMBUS – Conventional wisdom says you learn something new every day. Some days, you learn a whole lot of somethings.

Clermont County Park District naturalists had one of those days when they attended the recent Wildlife Diversity Conference presented by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division.

The conference theme – PREDATORS: Never Late for Dinner – covered everything from bats to coyotes, from birds of prey to dragonflies.

“If we’re going to offer excellent programs to the community, we have to have the best information available,” said Park District Director Chris Clingman. “Sending the naturalists to a conference like this gives them the opportunity to expand their programs and exchange ideas with other naturalists around the state.”

Naturalist Alyssa Rooks agreed.

“It’s useful information we can use to supplement some of our existing programs, especially as biologists continue to learn even more about the unique behaviors and adaptations of our local wildlife,” she said.

“We made a lot of new contacts with people who are experts in their fields with whom we can continue the conversation of engaging the public and stay up to date on the many conservation and education efforts under way.”

About 1,000 people attended the March 6 conference at Ohio State University.

“I thought it was interesting to hear about some of the research these people are conducting,” said Lead Naturalist Jana Marshall. “Especially some of the bat research. The academic side of the natural sciences is fascinating.

“Learning about coyotes, it gave us some tools for dealing with the negative stereotypes we always hear about them. A lot of people advocate for shooting all of them because they might get a neighborhood cat, but they have an important function in nature.”

One thing to look forward to from the naturalists is a new dragonfly survey later this year to augment state research.

“It’s a great way to introduce citizen science to our community,” Marshall said. “People can do this with us in the parks or on their own at their homes. Either way, it’s regular people making a contribution to high-level research. That’s pretty cool.”

The Clermont County Park District offers a wide range of naturalist programs for all age groups. Visit here for a current listing or call Marshall at 513-240-2615 to learn more about available offerings.

Posted in: Uncategorized
March 15, 2018

Shor Park getting improvements


UNION TWP. – The Clermont County Park District publicly advertised bids March 7 for new construction at Shor Park, 4659 Tealtown Road, Milford, OH 45150.

With Cincinnati firm Woolpert, Inc. serving as the architect, project highlights include pavement improvements, a stand-alone picnic shelter and a picnic shelter with restrooms and storage space for park equipment.

Woolpert estimates the cost of the project at $1.2 million.

An all-access playground for Shor Park will be part of a separate bid package, but will be built concurrently with this project.

“This is an exciting step for us,” said Park District Director Chris Clingman. “We’re looking forward to seeing the bids come in and getting to work. Shor Park has been popular with hikers since we dedicated it in 2010 and we’re glad to make it even better for the community.”

Woolpert and the Park District will host a non mandatory pre-bid meeting for prospective contractors at 9 a.m. Friday, March 16, at the Pattison Park Lodge.

The Park District will accept sealed bid packages until 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, at which point the Board of Park Commissioners will publicly open and read the bids.

“This is the first big building project we’re doing since we passed the levy (in Nov. 2016),” said Board of Park Commissioners Chairman Bill Stearns. “We finally have the money to take care of projects like this one to enhance the county.

“For far too long, there have been opportunities that have been ignored or neglected because we didn’t have the funds to address them. We’re pleased the voters gave us this opportunity. They will be seeing a lot more improvements coming across the entire Park District.”

Once a bid is selected and approved, construction is scheduled to last 212 days, putting the completion date for the project in late fall.

Building should have a minimal impact on parking at Shor and no effect on existing walking trails or the wetlands restoration area on the 56-acre property.

Shor Park is one of six parks operated by the Clermont County Park District, along with Chilo Lock 34, Hartman Log Cabin, Sycamore, Pattison and the Williamsburg-Batavia Hike/Bike trail. The Park District also operates Crooked Run, Kelley and Wilson Nature Preserves, as well as several greenspaces.

Posted in: Uncategorized
March 14, 2018

Youngster no square on dance floor


Ian Pulliam, center, practices his moves March 13 at Pattison Park Lodge. The 8-year-old second grader was the youngest participant in the Clermont County Park District’s square dance lesson series this winter. Ian’s grandmother, Beth Pulliam, is visible in red over his shoulder.

OWENSVILLE – Swing your partner. Do-si-do. Allemande. Turkey wing. Rip-n-snort.

Of all the moves Ian Pulliam learned this winter, that last one is his favorite. The 8-year-old second grader at W.T. Elementary spent Tuesday evenings from January to March in the Pattison Park Lodge learning to square dance with his grandmother, Beth Pulliam.

Beth enjoyed square dancing in gym class as a girl, but hadn’t done it since. When she saw the Clermont County Park District was offering lessons, she was interested, but needed a partner.

Enter Ian.

“I have five other grandchildren, but they’re a little older – into their high school things – and he’s the only boy,” Beth said. “I thought it would be a good way to spend time just with him.

“It’s been good for his confidence, dancing with all the grownups. We’ve had a lot of fun.”

His confidence showed opposite women often twice his height and five or more times his age. The adults were impressed with the youngest dancer in the group.

Russ Childers, who taught the dance lessons with his wife Barb, has been calling square dances for more than 20 years and playing square dance music for 50.

“I’ve never seen anything like him at 8 years old,” Childers said. “The concepts we’re dealing with and that he picked up, those are some steps adults have trouble learning.

“I think it’s great that he and his grandma are sharing this. Having young people like him learning to square dance is how we’re going to preserve that Appalachian heritage.”

There are plenty of benefits to square dancing. Social. Historical. Cultural. Even fitness. One dancer turned on his step tracker during the final lesson of the season March 13 and logged nearly two miles in 90 minutes of activity.

For his part, though, Ian just enjoyed hanging out with his grandma.

“That’s the best thing,” he said. “We get to have time together doing something pretty fun. It’s pretty cool.”

Looking for inexpensive – often free – family entertainment for all ages? The Clermont County Park District has a wide range of programs, events and activities all over the county. Visit for up-to-date information.

Posted in: Uncategorized
March 13, 2018

Naturalists add ambassador


Sasha the corn snake is the Clermont County Park District’s newest animal education ambassador.

CHILO – Forgive the latest addition to the Clermont County Park District family if she sticks her tongue out at you.

She’s only 8 years old a little bit of a southern belle.

Oh, and did we mention she is a corn snake named Sasha? Our newest animal education ambassador joins Clover the rabbit and a box turtle students nicknamed Chilo.

Expect to see Sasha and her colleagues traveling the county with Lead Naturalist Jana Marshall and Naturalist Alyssa Rooks as they visit schools or host scout groups for programs. They’ll also make appearances at Park District events like Nest Fest.

When she’s not traveling, Sasha lives at the naturalists’ office at Chilo Lock 34 Park, where she has a three-level enclosure with a warming lamp and plenty of hiding spots.

“She’ll help dispel the rumors that snakes are all bad or scary,” Marshall said. “She’s not venomous. She’s not aggressive. She is really good at tree climbing and she can even swim if she has to.”

You’ll recognize Sasha by her pale orange skin with rust-colored patterns trimmed in maroon.

Corn snakes are not native to Ohio, but generally live in the American southeast. Our five-foot version is related to the black rat snake commonly found in Clermont County. Her diet is similar; she eats mice, generally at a rate of one a week.

Sasha came to the Park District from Arrowhead Reptile Rescue after serving in a similar educational role at Diamond Oaks Career Development Center on the west side of Cincinnati.

“We definitely wanted a rescue rather than pull a snake from the wild,” Marshall said. “We’re trying to preserve wildlife, not upset it. Working with the rescue is one way to do that.

“When you have a snake, you have it for life, but sometimes people don’t realize what a commitment that is. We’re glad to have a good home for Sasha and to have a place where she can keep teaching.”

Want to meet Sasha in person? Schedule an appearance for your class or group by calling Marshall at 513-240-2615 or writing

Sasha slithers through the grass at Chilo Lock 34 Park.

Sasha displays her forked tongue while climbing up Naturalist Alyssa Rooks’ arm.

Posted in: Uncategorized
March 12, 2018

13th annual Pancakes in the Park another success


Pancakes sizzle on the griddle during the Clermont County Park District’s 13th annual Pancakes in the Park event March 10 at Pattison Park.

OWENSVILLE – No bad luck for number 13.

More than 300 people attended the Clermont County Park District’s 13th annual Pancakes in the Park event March 10 at Pattison Park.

Nobody went home hungry; guests consumed more than 1,000 pancakes cooked up by Park District Operations Superintendent Brian Marshall and Park Board of Commissioners member Dave Anspach.

Those pancakes were drenched in fresh maple syrup cooked up on site by Lead Naturalist Jana Marshall and Naturalist Alyssa Rooks.

First-time title sponsor Park National Bank provided more than a dozen volunteers to help keep the crowd fed and moving around the grounds.

The United Dairy Farmers Owensville store donated milk and juice to drink, while Cahall Brothers Inc. of Georgetown provided a Gator to help transport people and materials through the park.

Guests not only ate and drank, but walked the sugar bush trail, saw maple syrup in production at the sugar shack and enjoyed pioneer recreations by Grassy Run Historical Arts Committee.

“We were pleased to partner with the Park District on this event,” said Cyndy Wright, Assistant Vice President at Park National. “It’s all about community. We were happy to help bring people together to experience our county’s parks.”

“It’s always great to have so many people come out and enjoy the breakfast and to enjoy the park itself,” said Park Director Chris Clingman, who doubled as the head batter mixer for the event.

“Now that we’re getting close to spring, we’re looking forward to having even more people out taking advantage of the natural beauty and programs at all of our parks around the county.”

Mark your calendars now for March 9, 2019 and the 14th annual Pancakes in the Park event.

Posted in: Uncategorized
March 7, 2018

March 7, 2018 – Shor Park Improvements Bid Opening


Bid information for improvements at Shor Park in Union Township.

There will be a pre-bid meeting at 9 a.m. March 16 at the Pattison Park Lodge. Bids will be opened and read by the Board of Park Commissioners at 2 p.m. April 3.

Posted in: Bid opening
March 7, 2018

Oh deer – Ohio harvest up


Ohio posted another huge deer season in 2017-18. Hunters harvested more than 186,247 deer, up more than 4,000 from the previous year according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

An ODNR report listed Clermont County with 2,471 white-tail deer checked, up from 2,343 last year.

Tuscarawas County in east/central Ohio saw the largest harvest among the state’s 88 counties with 5,722. Ashtabula County in the northeast corner of the state was the only other county to crack 5K at 5,076.

Closer to home, neighboring Brown County hunters reaped 2,521 deer to the east, while Hamilton County collected 1,639 to the west.

The report said Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters. In addition, the sport brings more than $853 million into the Ohio economy through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.

Hunting and fishing licenses for the 2018-19 season went on sale March 1 at and hundreds of participating agents across the state. (Deer and fall turkey permits will be available for purchase in June.) Licenses are valid from the purchase date through Feb. 28, 2019.

Hunting is not allowed on Clermont County Park District property, but fishing is a popular pastime at several of our sites, including Chilo Lock 34 Park, Kelley Nature Preserve, Pattison Park and Sycamore Park.

For rules on fishing park district waters, please click here.

The Clermont County Park District has been committed to recreation, education and conservation for almost 50 years. It operates six parks, three nature preserves, several greenspaces and a hike/bike trail for the public enjoyment of more than 200,000 county residents and thousands of visitors from other communities.

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