Entering the new Morgana Bluffs Nature Preserve in Slavic Village, Monica Marshall tells a group of children to shake like frisky puppies.
“We’re going to shake off all the inside and get ready for the outside,” says Marshall, an environmental manager from the Broadway branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
The youngsters shake hard.
“Now take a deep breath,” Marshall says. “Now take another breath but close your eyes. Now open your eyes and look all around. What do you hear?”
“Birds!” a child cries.
“What do you see?”
“A tree!” another child shouts.
“I found a cricket!”
“I see dirt and rocks!”
“I see a roly poly!”
Morgana Bluffs Nature Preserve and Learning Center on Broadway will be dedicated Oct. 18, then opened dawn to dusk for pedestrians and leashed dogs.
The preserve’s creators expect plenty of use by neighbors, including members of the club’s adjacent branch at 6114 Broadway, pupils at the adjacent Mound STEM School and travelers on the adjacent Morgana Run Trail. But they don’t expect to draw many nature enthusiasts from afar.
The preserve has just four acres. It occupies the former site of a power plant stoked with coal. Officials have spotted deer, coyote and a nest of sharp-shinned hawks, which is listed as a species of concern in Ohio, but nothing truly remarkable for the region.
Still, don’t talk down this sheltered, wooded valley to Marshall’s charges, ages 6 to 12. “It’s got all the trees and all the leaves, big ones,” says Arthur Williams.
Honora Rogers says, “I like that we can all explore the living things that’s down here, like the trees and the flowers and stuff.”
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