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Visit a park and win a car
Messenger photo by Erin Wick
Josh Knights (left), executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, and Hope Taft, former First Lady of Ohio, launch the Natural Treasures of Ohio Sweepstakes.
The Nature Conservancy hopes to get Ohioans hooked on the outdoors, and Honda of America Manufacturing is providing the bait. Visit an area park this summer and you just might win a new car.
The land and water conservation advocate has partnered with the car maker to sponsor the Natural Treasures of Ohio Sweepstakes, a statewide parks promotion challenging contestants to venture out to any of 30 selected nature sites and photograph themselves at a designated landmark.
Participants then have until Aug. 8 to post their photos to the Natural Treasures website for a chance to win a 2012 Honda Insight Hybrid. Five second-place winners will receive $500 gift cards from REI.
“The contest is an opportunity for Ohioans of all ages to explore the amazing natural resources in the state,” said Josh Knights, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio.
The Nature Conservancy and Natural Treasures spokeswomen and former First Lady of Ohio, Hope Taft, launched the sweepstakes on May 23 at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center at Scioto Audubon Park in Columbus.
Taft, who researched native plant species at parks around the state to create the Ohio Heritage Garden at the Governor’s Residence, said she is happy to help promote the contest.
“Ohio has a lot to offer,” she said. “It is an ecological crossroads that people need to understand and appreciate. It’s in their backyards.”
While the contest serves to showcase the state’s ecological attractions, Knights said its ultimate goal is to reconnect people, especially children, to the outdoors, and to help instill a greater sense of ownership and responsibility to inspire ordinary citizens to be better stewards of Ohio’s natural resources.
Knights added that Natural Treasures encourages people to be more physically active, and the attention the parks receive could provide a boost to local economies.
“We have great places here at home, and you don’t have to leave the state,” he said.
The 30 sweepstakes sites are divided among five regions across Ohio, with six nature areas per region.
“It was very hard to choose,” Knights said, but explained the sites were picked specifically to be accessible to people of all ages and abilities, to represent the diversity of Ohio’s landscapes and to offer a good mix of geographic locations with a special focus on urban areas so participants would not have to travel far.
Several contest sites are in or near the Columbus metro area, including the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, one mile from the city’s downtown. The urban learning center is situated on the path of thousands of birds migrating to Central America and South America.
Another central Ohio Natural Treasures site is Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on Darby Creek Drive near Galloway. The 7,000 acres of prairies, fields and forests feature 18 miles of trails and creek canoe access along the winding Darby Creek system of designated state and national scenic rivers. The park also is home to an abundant diversity of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. The park’s designated Sweepstakes landmark is Big Darby Creek as viewed from the Ancient Trail trailhead.
The sweepstakes runs through Aug. 8. Information about qualifying parks and contest details can be found at www.nature.org/naturaltreasuresohio.
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