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The City of Cleveland's ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE DIRECTORY provides links and contact information for many useful community, conservation, environmental and governmental organizations.

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To identify your state and federal elected officials visit and enter your zip code.

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To reach the White House
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To reach State Senators
Ohio Statehouse
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To reach State Representatives
Ohio House of Representatives
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43266-0603

To reach the Governor
Gov. John Kasich
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30th Floor, Riffe Center
Columbus, OH 43266-0601
(614) 466-3555

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Holden Arboretum Outing

November/December 2008

by David Dvorak, Executive Committee Chair and Cleveland Metroparks Naturalist

On Sunday September 28 the Northeast Ohio Sierra Club had an outing to Holden Arboretum. Our Volunteer Coordinator, Josh Prager, organized the activity and I led the nature hike. Eighteen members attended, some with their families. We had a wide age range participating, not all of whom were present for the picture at the end of the hike. Sierra Club member Benigno Rodriguez took the photo. We visited several different habitats established by the Holden Arboretum staff. We started in the tallgrass prairie area and admired the flowering of asters, goldenrods, sunflowers, grasses, and obedient plant. When you turn a flower of the bright pink obedient plant it will maintain the position you turn it to! Goldfinch were feeding on the seeds produced by the prairie plants. Yes, Ohio has prairies, but most of them now have been converted to be part of the "corn belt." A few prairie remnants survived the plow and we now collect seed from them to restore lands in natural area preserves to bring back their glory. Besides Holden Arboretum, restored prairies can be found in Brecksville, Bedford, and Hinckley Reservations of the Cleveland Metroparks.

Next we visited a bog area filled with plants that like to live in the acidic soils of these ice age relicts. We saw tamaracks in fall color. These are deciduous conifers. Covering most of the low vegetation in the bog were ripening cranberries. Ferns were taking on fall color at the edge of the bog and winterberry holly was covered with bright red berries, an important wildlife food. Cedar waxwings and thrushes love these berries.

Many beautiful wetland ponds dot the lands of the Holden Arboretum. We enjoyed seeing some late blossoms on the hibiscus, swamp rose mallow. A few dragonflies circled the ponds and robins, blue jays, cardinals, and goldfinch fed at the ponds' edges. It rained lightly at times, but this added to the beauty of the many plants fading into autumn colors. We looked at another deciduous conifer, the bald cypress, growing at the edge of one of the ponds. We could see the growths called knees coming up from the roots around the tree. Bald cypress are native to southeastern North America, but do survive when planted further north, possibly assisted by the climate warming.

The forest was full of falling nuts: acorns, black walnuts, and hickory nuts. This provides the "mast" that much wildlife depends on to get through the winters. Everything from wild turkeys to deer depend on this mast of nuts. We admired two of Ohio’s evergreen conifers, the white pine and eastern hemlock. Many white pine cones were covering the forest floor. Squirrels and other animals eat the pine nuts, the seeds that come from pine trees. We admired tulip trees with their very straight trunks. We talked about introduced dangers to trees like the fungus that wiped out most American chestnuts and the recently introduced oriental emerald ash borer which is threatening to kill all trees in the ash family. Most baseball bats are made from ash. Could this be the end of the Louisville Slugger bats that professional baseball uses?

Remember when you travel abroad, take pictures for memories, do not bring living organisms back that could harbor dangerous pathogens that can wipe native species out.

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Calling All Local Issues

Do you know of a local environmental issue in need of attention? Do you have inside information on what's going on in your city or township? With over 5,000 members in Northeast Ohio we count on you to be the Club's eyes and ears of the region. While the Federal government and large corporations continue to wreak havoc on our environment, it is more important than ever before to act as watchdogs in our own backyards.

If you know of a local environmental issue in need of observation or action, please contact the Conservation Committee - Dennis Plank (216) 939-8229.

Remember, no obstacle too great when passionate communities unite.

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Activist Calling Instructions

For those new to calling state or federal representatives, it's easier and less confrontational than it sounds. You will never speak directly with your rep or senator - an aide will answer the phone, take brief notes plus your name and city (sometimes), and that's it.

When calling either state or federal government offices, you will not need to go into detail or defend your position. No one will ever argue with you. They may ask questions to clarify what issue you support or don't support. But it's usually as simple as saying: "Please let my rep know that I want him/ her to support Bill number XX" (if there is a number), or "green building standards in schools", or "more renewable energy"; or "I do not want the US to drill for oil in ANWR!" The staff taking the calls are there to receive your information and forward it on or to provide information you request. They will not question what you support or your beliefs. You will never know if they personally do not agree with you.

One phone call is a lot more important than you may think! A long-time aide in Washington explained that, if a congress person receives many calls at their office, the aide will actually call the congress person on their cell phone, even if they're on the floor of the Capitol, debating. When asked, "How many is a lot?" her response was, "About 20." Your one call can make a difference.

For updates on Sierra Club legislative priorities call 202-675-2394 or log on to

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