Campfire kicks off summer at Liberty Park

This summer, spend balmy evenings at the park district's largest park.

On June 21 at 7 p.m., at Liberty Park's Twinsburg Ledges Area (9999 Liberty Rd., Twinsburg), participants can kick off summer with a naturalist-led hike on the 1.1-mile Ledges Trail.

After the hike, while supplies last, visitors can roast marshmallows around a campfire. Other campfire programs are scheduled at Liberty Park once per month through October.

In addition, dozens of other naturalist-led programs covering a variety of topics will take place at the 3,000-acre property this season.

Liberty Park boasts a 3,900-square-foot nature center with displays that explain the importance of the park's natural resources. The park comprises of several unique habitats, and harbors countless rare and endangered species.

Park biologists have found evidence of at least one black bear hibernating in Liberty Park, and the Audubon Society has identified it as an Important Bird Area.

To learn more, visit summitmetroparks.org or call 330-865-8065.

Dive into a week of bugs and monsters

This month, Summit Metro Parks naturalists will lead children into the world of the bugs and "water monsters" that can be found in the Metro Parks and other nearby locations. Kids can enjoy three bug programs in June, including:

- Bugs for Kids, June 27 at 3 p.m. in Adell Durbin Park, 3300 Darrow Road in Stow. Children can search for bugs that crawl, jump, fly and sing, and learn the basics of identification. Adults must accompany their children;

- Water Bugs for Kids, June 28 at 10:30 a.m. at the Liberty Park Nature Center, 9999 Liberty Road in Twinsburg. Join a naturalist to explore the world of water bugs. Nets and jars will be provided. Meet at the shelter. Sunscreen and hats are a must; and

- Water Monsters, June 29 at 1 p.m. at the Everett Road Covered Bridge, 2370 Everett Road in Peninsula. Families will enjoy learning about the unique and irreplaceable "monsters" that live in our waters. Wear shoes that can get wet for a closer peek. For more information, call 330-865-8065.

Running Spree jogs into third year

The third annual Metro Parks Running Spree will include a number of natural-surface and paved trails for beginning, intermediate and advanced runners that can be completed for credit. But don't worry: You don't have to be speedy to earn spree rewards.

"The Running Spree is not a race," assured Summit Metro Parks spokesperson Nathan Eppink. "It's meant to encourage our visitors to be outside and get exercise. You can run, jog or walk-run on the trails. Your time, your form -- none of that matters."

Each participant who finishes at least six runs on any combination of select trails by Aug. 31 will earn a wooden race medal on a commemorative ribbon. Eppink said the medals are similar to those offered by the Akron Marathon Race Series, and the spree is a great way to train for the June, August and September events.

Forms will be available starting Memorial Day weekend at runningspree.summitmetroparks.org, at several Metro Parks locations and all Acme Fresh Market stores in Summit County. Rewards for the spree are free to Summit County residents. Out-of-county residents will pay $10 for their rewards.

For details, call 330-865-8065.