For the children who didn't find Bigfoot in the Hudson Parks last year, they can search for the elusive Sasquatch this year.
In search of Bigfoot was a new program of the Friends of Hudson Parks in 2016. Bigfoot cutouts were placed in different parks and visitors were asked to take a photo with the big guy. From the 187 entries in the "In Search of Bigfoot" photo contest, 20 winners were selected and received a Bigfoot Patrol membership kit.
The Friends of Hudson Parks organization activity supports the mission of the Hudson Parks through volunteerism, advocacy, promotion and fundraising. The share the values of conservation, environmental sustainability, education, community engagement, recreation and health and wellness.
The Friends of the Parks announced the achievements in 2016 and plans for 2017 at their annual dinner Jan. 26.
Mayor David Basil said the Friends of the Parks is a prime example of volunteer spirit.
"This is an example of hard work," Basil said. "The things you do to engage citizens in the park is invaluable."
Friends of Hudson Parks President Phil Mikita recognized Edward M. Dell with the Outstanding Achievement Award for his work promoting Hudson parks. A retired member of the board, Dell was known for grilling hot dogs during special events.
Bill and Sue Holman, The Muddy Dawgs, organized the Fourth Annual Geocaching Adventure with seven geocaches and 100 participants with online logs and 436 finds recorded, Mikita said.
The 51 cachers who completed all seven caches received a FOHP Path Tag and were eligible for a drawing to win a $100 gift card from Appalachian Outfitters, Mikita said.
The Holmans presented the $100 gift card to Alex and Paula Hohenstein of Macedonia at the annual banquet.
"We've had a great time in your parks," Alex Hohenstein said.
Besides the geocaching adventure, Friends of Hudson Parks offered many activities in 2016 to attract visitors to the Hudson parks.
More than 200 children participated in Playground Palooza where children recorded visits to different parks in their passport books, Mikita said. Sponsors included Appalachian Outfitters, Hudson Preschool Parents, Vertical Runner, Western Reserve Racing and Acme Fresh Market.
The Summer Education Program is taught by Alyssa Moyer, a Kent State University graduate with a degree in middle childhood education. Lessons included searching for salamanders and dissecting owl pellets.
More than 300 people enjoyed Pack the Pond in August by trying out kayaks, canoes and paddleboards supplied by Kent State "Crooked River Adventures."
The Park Ambassador program for park volunteers completed its third year. Those who completed the Fall Hiking Spree in Hudson parks received water bottles and Open Door Coffee coupons.
Children could enjoy reading a story with Story Walk in Veterans Way and Bicentennial Woods parks.
Friends of Hudson Parks reached out to the community through the Preschool Parents Children's Fair in April at East Woods School; Community Service Day in May with more than 190 volunteers cleaning up the parks with the help of Hudson Community First and Kiwanis; the Farmer's Market; and Green on the Green in September to promote environmental sustainability.
In 2017 most of the programs will be returning with the addition of kayak and paddleboard lessons and Monarch Waystations.