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Right on target: Archery in the parks
Prairie Oaks Metro park naturalist Jen Rosa takes aim at a target with a simple compound bow. She will teach park visitors ages 8 and older how to do the same at archery programs coming up in August.
Archery in the parks
Two Metro Parks located in or near Madison County are offering archery programs in August. The programs are open to ages 8 and older. Participants will learn how to use a simple compound bow to shoot arrows at targets.
Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Meet at Sycamore Plains Trail, 2009 Amity Road, Hilliard.
• Aug. 4 at 10 a.m.—The naturalist will provide a structured lesson in archery.
• Aug. 5 from 1 to 3 p.m.—Stop by any time to give archery a try.
Glacier Ridge Metro Park
9801 Hyland Croy Road, Plain City
• Aug. 11 at 4 p.m.—The naturalist will provide a structured lesson in archery. Meet at the Energy Center at the windmill.
Next to creeking, archery is the most popular program at Prairie Oaks Metro Park, drawing 70 to 80 participants each time it is offered.
Could the recent release of two films featuring heroines with mad bow-and-arrow skills—Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” and Merida in “Brave”—bump up attendance even more?
“I hadn’t thought about that. Oh, that would have been a fun way to promote this year’s archery programs!” said Jen Rosa, Prairie Oaks naturalist.
Rosa hopes to see many aspiring Katnisses, Meridas and Robin Hoods at archery programs set for 10 a.m. Aug. 4 and 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 5. Both will take place in the park’s Sycamore Plains area, located south of Darby Bend Lakes at 2009 Amity Road, Hilliard.
“We get a mixed crowd. Some are country kids who have their own equipment at home, and some, I guess you would say, are city kids who have never tried it,” Rosa said. As for why archery draws such a good turnout, she added, “It’s just something different.”
While many of the participants are young—the program is open to ages 8 and older—adults get in on the fun, too.
“We get a lot of families. While the kids are giving it a try, I talk the parents into trying it, too. Once they do, they’re just as into it as the kids are,” Rosa said.
She has child- and adult-sized bows, each of which can be set to low, medium or high tension. The higher the tension, the more challenging the sport.
“We use simple compound bows, so any skill level can use them, and you have a pretty good chance of hitting the target. We have a 99 percent success rate,” Rosa said.
The targets are set up in front of a net behind which is a big pile of dirt, making it easy to retrieve even stray arrows. Archers stay behind a line of cones until all arrows are shot. The targets stand roughly 20 feet from the line.
While participants await their turn, Rosa offers them bug nets and jars for bug collection. She’ll also display animal pelts. She recommends that visitors bring their own water because the archery area does not have a water fountain.
The central Ohio Metro Parks system incorporated archery into its programming about four years ago. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources supplied the equipment and trained the naturalists through its “Archery in Schools” initiative.
For more information about archery and other programs at the Metro Parks, go to www.metroparks.net.
Prairie Oaks Metro Park’s 500 acres are located in northeastern Madison and western Franklin counties. The naturalist’s office can be reached via the main entrance at 3225 Plain City-Georgesville Road, West Jefferson, less than a mile north of the State Route 142 exit off of I-70. Call (614) 879-8903.
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