Hudson -- Friends of Hudson Parks want residents and visitors to learn more about the city's parks.
Established in 2011, Friends of Hudson Parks had its second annual meeting Jan. 16 at the Gables of Hudson and is looking for volunteers and participants in its programs. The group meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month at the Hudson Library and Historical Society.
President Phil Mikita presented the outstanding achievement award to Rhonda Kadish for all her work in 2013 to promote the Hudson parks.
Mikita said in 2013 more than 100 volunteers helped with the park beautification by cleaning up trash. Girl Scouts volunteered to remove Garlic Mustard at Hudson Springs Park, and more than 100 visitors participated in geochaching, a GPS scavenger hunt in the park.
"The goal is to gain greater exposure and help people discover Hudson's 20 parks," Mikita said.
2014 has many of the same activities as previous years, but the new Park Ambassador Program allows residents to volunteer in the park and grow its membership.
Some of the activities include "Pack the Pond" on the lake at Hudson Springs Park with paddle boats and kayak demonstrations, activities, ice cream and a raffle.
The Green on the Green helps educate residents about the ecology of the parks and is sponsored by the Environmental Awareness Committee. In 2013, the mascot in the leaf costume was no other than Mayor William Currin.
Volunteers are an integral part of the Hudson community and add value to everyone's life, Currin said. The preservation is important to the present and future generations.
Hudson had its own hike and bike spree in 2013 with more than 100 people completing eight trails.
A photo contest provided photos of the parks for the Friends of the Parks website and four winners received gift certificates from Vertical Runner and Appalachian Outfitters, Mikita said.
Treasurer Stratford Dick said the goal is to expand educational pieces on the website.
"We want to make the park experience to be more productive," Dick said.
Friends of Hudson Parks also is seeking grants for the Veterans Trail, a priority for the parks to connect the north and south areas of the city as well as connect to neighboring communities and the Summit County bike and hike trail.
When completed, Veterans Trail will provide safe routes, decrease traffic congestion, promote healthy lifestyles, link neighborhoods and communities and provide environmental and economic benefits, Mikita said.
The Friends of Hudson Parks is an organization that supports the Hudson parks with volunteers and fund raising to protect the parks, educate the public and encourage the public use of the parks for recreation and health.
Friends of Hudson Parks is a component fund of the Hudson Community Foundation.
The board of directors include Ed Dell, Stratford Dick, Matt Groves, Rhonda Kadish, Paul Khacherian, Phil Mikita, Mike O'Brien, Mike Schoffstall and Hudson Park Superintendent Eric Hutchinson.
More information is available at www.friendsofhudsonparks.org and visitors can view a gallery of photos provided by park visitors.
Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing