I never need an excuse to visit the eight parks that make up Preservation Parks of Delaware County; but of course, I work there. If you, on the other hand, need a couple of reasons, here are five:

1. We've got a cool avian visitor at Deer Haven Preserve, 4183 Liberty Road. It's a leucistic house finch. That means it has reduced pigmentation. It's not an albino; it does have some brown on its tail and wings, and its beak, feet and eyes are normal-colored. It's been around for a couple of weeks, and has been coming to the feeders.

2. Preservation Parks' new program guide for January through April is out! It features some great new programs, such as Hey Ranger! (a chance to walk the trails with one of our park rangers and ask questions); a two-park series on salamanders; and the first installment of a Dutch oven cooking series. The guides are in park kiosks, and at both The Lodge at Deer Haven Preserve and the Mary McCoy Nature Center at Hogback Ridge Preserve (2656 Hogback Road). You can also view it on our Web site (as soon as it's back up; a server issue means that our site has been down since 12/18). The Web address is: www.preservationparks.com.

3. We have SNOW! That makes it easier to see which animals have been out and about.

4. The nature center will be open on Christmas and New Year's. They will be open noon-5 p.m. both days.

5. We're hosting a morning walk on New Year's Day -- a great way to kick off 2010! Join us at Char-Mar Ridge Preserve, 7741 Lewis Center Road, at 10 a.m. for a walk and hot chocolate. The park is located just east of the intersection of Lewis Center Road and Route 3 in Genoa Township. See you there!