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FEBRUARY 2011
Greetings from Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation. This newsletter is filled with great activities that will help you stay active during the month of February. We would also like to remind you that Park and Rec summer camps are now open for registration.

The following video provides a great overview of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.
 
   Fairy House Festival
  The third annual Fairy House Festival is Feb. 12 at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve.

'FAIRY HOUSE FESTIVAL' PROMISES ENCHANTING TIME FOR YOUNGSTERS 

 Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation invites children and families to the third annual “Fairy House Festival,” on Saturday, Feb. 12, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., rain or shine, at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. This is a FREE event. A fairy house is an outdoor natural habitat structure for fairies, insects and small animals. Come discover the joy and magic of fairy houses! This event includes storytelling, face painting, crafts, and children’s activities with refreshments available. Prizes will be given for best fairy and gnome costumes and for construction of the best fairy house. Children will learn how to build their own fairy house on one of the preserve’s nature trails. Enchanting fun for all ages! The whole family will enjoy this festival that encourages outdoor play. 

 Youth Baseball  
Registration ends Friday, Feb. 25. League play runs April through June.  

PARK AND REC'S YOUTH BASEBALL LEAGUES ARE READY TO PLAY BALL!

The Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department invites parents with children ages 4-12 interested in playing baseball to register for the upcoming spring co-ed recreation season. Space is limited, so register early! A birth certificate is required to establish proof of age of the child as of May 1, 2011. The registration fee is $65, which includes league play and uniform. Registration begins Monday, Jan. 31 and ends Friday, Feb. 25. League play runs April through June with practices beginning in March. The leagues are formed utilizing a player skills assessment process which allows the creation of teams that are competitively balanced.

To register, click on the appropriate age group below:

Youth Baseball Coaches Needed

If you enjoy baseball and like working with kids, then consider volunteering as a youth baseball coach. Time commitment consists of a one-hour weekly practice, plus games on Saturdays. All Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation coaches undergo a background check by the department and are trained and certified through the National Youth Sports Coaches Association. If interested in being a volunteer coach, please contact the recreation center nearest you or Lori Saylor, volunteer coordinator, at 704-353-0504.


LEISURE AND LEARN NOW OFFERED ON THE FIRST AND THIRD THURSDAY OF EACH MONTH

Beginning in February, Leisure and Learn will be offered on the first and third Thursday of each month at Mallard Creek Recreation Center and William R. Davie Park. Each session cost $5. The series, which is offered for adults ages 50 – up, provides opportunities for participants to gain new experiences while spending time with others. Each session includes dynamic guest speakers, new and exciting workshops, and fantastic food. The first course is Thursday, Feb. 3 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Mallard Creek. The event will include a presentation from the Mecklenburg County Tax Office on property revaluation. The session will also include the following workshops:

  • Gardening and Composting
  • Fitness with Action Jackson
  • Estate Planning
  • New York Life Presents: Choosing Your Retirement Path

Register for the Feb. 3 event as well as future sessions through E-Parks.


 Tree Management  
Loblolly pines make up about 265 acres, or about four percent, of nature preserve land in Mecklenburg County.  
TREE MANAGEMENT PROJECT WILL HELP PROTECT NATIVE SPECIES AND CREATE A MORE DIVERSE ECOSYSTEM

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s Nature Preserves and Natural Resources Division will soon begin a multi-year timber management project that will focus on the removal of loblolly pine trees from several nature preserves to help create a more diverse, natural ecosystem that will better protect native species. The project will begin as early as spring 2011 at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve and Cowan’s Ford Wildlife Refuge and eventually expand to Rural Hill Nature Preserve and, possibly, Haymarket Nature Preserve. Loblolly pines are the most widely cultivated timber species planted primarily for lumber used in home construction. The fast-growing trees have experienced aggressive growth in mainly the Southeast over the last 75 years. Loblolly pines make up about 265 acres, or about four percent, of nature preserve land in Mecklenburg County. Most of these plantations have never undergone any type of forest management, resulting in an excess number of loblolly pines. The consequences are that many of the pines are not in good shape for high-quality timber production or wildlife habitat. The timber management project will call for loblolly pines to be cut down and removed, leaving the surrounding oak and hickory hardwoods. Shortleaf pines -- which help stabilize soils, control forest composition (minimizing undesirable species), and allow for natural disturbances -- will be planted in place of the loblolly pines. Over time, the stands of trees will be managed for hardwood species, resulting in a more natural forest community.


  Valentine's Day  
  Click to see a larger version of this flyer.

ALBEMARLE ROAD REC CENTER OFFERS SENIOR VALENTINE'S DAY SWEETHEART BALL

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation invites active seniors ages 50 and over to a Senior Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Ball, February 11, 6pm-9pm, at Albemarle Road Recreation Center. This event is for singles or couples. No alcohol please. Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy the foxtrot, swing, rumba, cha cha, waltz, tango, and line dancing. This event offers great music, refreshments, door prizes and a wonderful time to start the New Year! The dance will be in the gym of the recreation center. Admission is $3 at the door. Dress is “dressy casual”-- party dress or pantsuit for ladies, dress shirt and dress pants for gentlemen. No reservations required. 

REGISTER NOW FOR THERAPEUTIC RECREATION'S AMAZING RACE

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s Therapeutic Recreation Section will sponsor an “Amazing Race” on Saturday, March 12, to raise money for its summer day camp scholarship fund. Individuals interested in participating will need to register as teams of two by Feb. 28. The registration fee is $50 per team. The “Amazing Race” is a fun-filled urban adventure where teams solve puzzles, figure out clues, find locations and complete challenges while discovering uptown Charlotte. This year, the race will begin in Marshall Park, with the first team leaving on their adventure at 9 a.m. Prior to the race, all teams will participate in a pre-race meeting at Marion Diehl Recreation Center on Monday, March 7, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The meeting will cover rules and expectations for the race and start times for each team. Race numbers and T-shirts also will be distributed. Since this race involves solving challenges, race times will be determined by team scores in a Charlotte Trivia Challenge. The higher the team score in the trivia challenge, the earlier the start time. Grand prize is a charter fishing or charter dive trip off Topsail Island, NC. There will also be prizes for the top fundraiser and the team with most spirit. For more information or to register please contact Margot Howell

"GREEN CALENDAR" TO HIGHLIGHT ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS AND EVENTS IN MECKLENBURG COUNTY

The Charlotte Regional Environmental Network, a group made up of various organizations devoted to environmental issues, sustainability, and nature-based recreation, has created a “Green” calendar through Google Calendars which will provide information on environmental meetings, programs, events, activities and workshops in and around Mecklenburg County. Participating groups include:

E-PLANT TIPS FOR FEBRUARY FROM THE NC COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PROGRAM

  • February is the best time of the year to prune most plants. Use the 1/3rd rule when rejuvenating your landscape shrubs. Remove no more than 1/3 of the plant’s stem growth this year, then another 1/3 the following year. This will allow you to gradual reduce the size of the shrub if needed.
  • Never fertilize a plant in dry soil. The fertilizer could burn roots that need water. It's better to water plants a couple of hours before fertilizing.
  • Crabgrass control season is around the corner. Check out our Turfiles site for management recommendations.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT MECKLENBURG COUNTY PARK AND RECREATION

Park and Recreation thanks all of its volunteers who helped in the past year. There are plenty of ways to get involved in February. For more information on volunteering contact Lori Saylor at 704-353-0504.



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