One of the joys of a walk in the woods is that I always find a surprise.

I was reminded of this fact recently when I walked the trails at Gallant Woods Park on Buttermilk Hill Road. As I strolled down the trail, I was followed for a while by a pair of scolding white-breasted nuthatches, one of our most endearing native bird species. I heard northern cardinals singing in the distance and also recognized the churring call of a nearby red-bellied woodpecker.

I noticed an odd-looking whitish stem near the ground. When I looked closely, I saw the flowering stalks of Indian pipe, a remarkable plant that has no green foliage but derives its food from an association with fungus in the soil.

This short walk reminded me how much I appreciate the green space preserved by Preservation Parks of Delaware County. Our park district is relatively new, but it has already developed a reputation for excellence in preserving natural areas and providing wonderful educational activities.

The other folks I encountered on the trail included a family as well as several runners. We live in one of the fastest-growing counties in Ohio, and open green space is a rapidly vanishing resource. The mission of our parks system is to preserve some of these areas and provide opportunities for residents to explore and enjoy them.

As Delaware County grows, I believe it is important that we continue to preserve a few wild areas, not just for the wildlife, but also for joyful walks in the woods.

The parks system is supported by a modest countywide property-tax levy, up for renewal this year. I write today to urge my neighbors to join me and support Preservation Parks with their vote in November.

Richard Bradley