Crown Point Earth Day 5k: Race Results

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate Earth Day with us during our first annual 5K Trail Race and 1-mile Family Fun Run. There were runners of all ages exploring our fields, wetlands and wooded trails.

Click here to see race results: Race Times 2017 Crown Point Earth Day 5k

Thank you to all of our volunteers, especially, Connie Gardner, who volunteered to coordinate and time the event, and Alicia Thomas, who helped with capturing hundreds of fun photos. Below are a few highlights from the race, and you can check out all of the race photos here.

Some of our race winners pose with their handmade pottery


1-mile runner, Lauren Turos, with her seedling donated by RB Stout, Inc.


Banana Tent compliments of Mustard Seed Market & Café

April Challenge: Spring Procrastination

Don’t clean that yard just yet. 

April is a season of spectacular changes. Today is partly sunny and warm, and we walk outside without a coat to soak up the 60-degree weather. Last week, the blue Siberian Squill flowers at our entrance rose defiant against the wet snow. When the snow melts, we uncover bits of plastic that are buried and blown about by the winter winds. Go ahead, pick up that plastic – but don’t go on a cleaning raid. Leave alone the leaf litter and sticks that are stacked against the side of the house.

You don’t need to mow quite yet either, so leave the sticks on the mushy ground. Bumble bees like to make their nest in the soil in cavities or burrows.  You can spot the nests when you see worker bees flying in and out of the entrance, or perhaps you drive your mower over it and the very irritated bees will chase you and sting you, repeatedly.  Really, that mower is just not going to start and it is only going to make you mad, so leave the bumble bees alone and go back inside and finish your stupid taxes.

Leafcutter bee brood chamber in a rose cane (photo credit: OSU)

Pollinators in the garden aren’t fooled by the warm days. Their chrysalides are still clinging to last years dried sticks and leaves.  I know, you saw some bees flying around. There are some pollinators that come out early, but they still need cover on those chilly nights.  Last year’s leaf litter provides protection for both plants and invertebrates against late-season frosts.  The cherry trees bloom first in Ohio and the pollinator party starts, but wait until the apple trees are done blooming before you go at it with your itchy green thumb.   That way you will ensure all the late-to-emerge pollinating species also have a chance.

Some excellent resources on pollinator biology habitat can be found here:

Natural Resources and Conservation Services

OSU extension services

Header photo copyright: lianem / 123RF Stock Photo

March Challenge: Dispose of the disposable cup habit

It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world – Chaos Theory

We don’t often think of coffee and butterflies simultaneously, but for this month’s sustainability challenge, let’s make small shifts in thinking and small changes in actions – like thinking twice about the use of disposable cups. Tiny changes you make do make a difference. If millions of people make those tiny changes, the butterfly effect will help us reverse the environmental damage we have created, and we will have a cleaner healthier planet for our children and grandchildren.

Drink your morning cup of tea or coffee as if it were the first time in your life. Enjoy the smell of the roasted coffee being ground or the fresh-mown hay smell of the tea. Hold your cup, your favorite cup, the one that is made of clay, the one with the broken handle that allows you to warm your whole hand when you hold it, the one that says “World’s Best Dad”, the clear glass cup, the high-tech one, or the dainty grandmother cup on the daisy plate.   Sit down and sip, slowly, aware of the beautiful event that this is, every morning and every day.

And if you must travel with your coffee enjoy that too, but use a travel mug instead of disposable. The use of these disposable cups creates a typhoon of environmental consequences.  Billions of cups are tossed annually. And let’s see what it takes to make cups: Millions of trees, billions of gallons of water and the energy to power 50 to 100 thousand homes.   Every four paper cups equals one pound of CO2 emissions.  The number estimates vary between data sources, but we can agree the numbers are staggering. And coffee cups are hard to recycle, because they are often coated in plastic resin.

It might seem far away but choosing to enjoy your coffee in a reusable cup will keep the fluttering wings of beautiful, rare and pollinator butterflies in the coffee forests alive and well.

You can also visit us on Facebook and share your photos on instagram, when you catch yourself doing good. And please remember to tag us in your post!

Monica Bongue-Bartlesman, Ph.D.

P.S. If you missed our last two challenges, you can still participate and it’s easy to catch up! In January, we challenged our supporters to think about food waste. In February, we focused on using reusable bags while shopping.



Changing weather is simple, and it’s that hard

March, muddy March, a bridge between winter and spring. Green things start popping out of the soil and the urge to go out and dig in the mud becomes irresistible.
Spring comes far too soon, before we have had a chance to rest our bodies and spirit in the winter quiet.  We’re often pivoting between the depths of Winter and the start of Spring.
Tonight I will cook a comforting soup using the butternut squashes harvested last fall and the new spring onions popping out through the snow. Like farmers, they are defiant and fearless – knowing that it is only a few more weeks when we will be basking in the sun and enjoying the spring rains.
One of our high tunnels blew in the strong winds two days ago. While the plastic was flapping in the wind the herb, vegetable and flower seedlings kept growing undisturbed by the commotion in the greenhouse next to the now empty ground.
We protect our peppers seeds from the critters that like to eat them, put our chickens away at night, play with the kitty and keep on coming to the farm. We keep planting little seeds in trays, mulching our new strawberry field, measuring fields, planning, hoping, like farmers always hope, for the promise of spring.
This growing season will not blow us away like a high tunnel in the wind, we have the support of our volunteers and members that anchor our organization.
Thank you for being a part of the foundation that sustains us.

Love from the Farm & Strawberries

I like the saying “Don’t buy Food from Strangers.”
We feel your friendship when you make it out to the farm and talk to us. We work the soil and plant the plants, and you eat our food. How cool is that? We are connected through the nourishment that our land provides us.
Our relationship is uncommon to be sure.  We write to you, extend invitations to on-farm events, share recipes, photos, concerns, thoughts and happenings. We want you to feel nourished, included and connected to your food. At Crown Point Ecology Center, we believe the care of our earth, of our community and our own bodies and spirit are all one and the same.  People don’t often think of farmers as innovators and leaders – but we are, and so are you!

Roni Pasi, Farm Manager, plants strawberries on an unseasonably warm February day.

We hope that with every CSA pick-up you will experience more than the beautiful colors and fresh taste of our produce. Crown Point food is grown with love and care, and we put a little bit of that into every carrot, every lettuce. Our commitment even extends to each little bird that flies over our fields. We hope you are indeed healthier and happier knowing the people who grew your food did it with loving intention. We feel providing you with our harvest share is more than a sale, it is a partnership.   We are grateful to have people like you appreciate who we are and what we are offering.  Thank You!

This week, we are welcoming old and new members to sign up for our 2017 growing season CSA shares. If you did not already save your spot, you can do so now by following this link to easily sign-up on line.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, and remember that you will receive a beautiful, all natural, canvas market bag as a hearty thank you.
Thank you for partnering with us for a successful growing season,
Monica Bartlesman-Bongue, PhD.
Executive Director
“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature is a help.  Gardening is an instrument of grace.” 
May Sarton