All posts by Ellie Nowels

Ravine Walk – Highbanks Metro Park

Highbanks bridge

This ravine is found at Highbanks Metro Park; according to employees the stream has no official name.  An 1856 Atlas of Delaware County shows it as “Spring Run” but other atlases since then show no name.

It flows into the Olentangy River. A trail that begins next to the nature center crosses over the stream via the bridge shown in the photo. The ravine walls and base of the stream are composed of many layers of oil shale.

Highbanks looking down from bridge

Looking down from the bridge. Visitors are allowed to leave the trail to explore the stream.

Highbanks ravine

Closeup of a wall of shale.

Alluvial fan

Water flow draining from the previous flood plain on the deposit side of the stream has created an alluvial fan.

false solomon's seal

False Solomon’s seal or Solomon’s Plume (Maianthemum racemosum) next to jewelweed.

eroded spot in rock

A granite erratic, carried along by the former glaciers that created this stream, and featuring a circular hole probably created by dripping water.

Photos by Ellie Nowels, June 2021

Ravine Walk – Rush Run

Rush Run has its headwaters in a retention pond north of I-270, then travels south to 161, turning southeast on its way to the Olentangy River, where it is surrounded by a Columbus Recreation and Parks nature preserve.

Photos were taken in the summer of 2020 by Ellie Nowels.

Entrance to the park is found behind the rental office of Broadmeadows apartments.

Just beyond the trees is the confluence with the Olentangy River.

One of several small tributaries in the parkland.

Still walking eastward, the path on the south side ends right before the western end of Walnut Grove Cemetery. A large sewer pipe crosses the stream here; on the north side, the park continues into the village of Riverlea, with a number of walking paths in the woods.

This is the section of Rush Run that runs between Proprietors and McCoy roads. The stream bed and ravine walls are primarily shale throughout this section.

Property owners along this section (Proprietors to McCoy) enjoy this natural treasure.

Fractures and moss give texture to the shale walls.

Plenty of food for the wildlife!

As you approach the culvert under 161 just east of Proprietors Road, there is plenty of evidence of human activity.

Ravine Walk – Bill Moose (Blind and Deaf School section)

Bill Moose map
The section of Bill Moose Run between N. High and Indianola is not often visited, since it requires permission from the Ohio State School for the Blind and the Ohio State School for the Deaf. It divides their properties, and then passes through the Worthington Gardens apartment complex near N. High St.


October, 2020 – photos by Ellie Nowels

This area of the stream does have some invasives but also good stands of hardwood. There is a good amount of riparian woodland on both sides of the stream for the majority of the length of this section.

Young pawpaw saplings.

Very few flowers were evident (early October), but this great blue lobelia and white snakeroot were still hanging on.

Erosion is intense in some areas.

There are a number of abandoned bridges or other structures along the way; this is near the Blind School and goes over a small sub-tributary.

Not until it approaches the Worthington Gardens apartments does the gravel and sediment base give way to a shale base.

Many concretions can be found in the stretch that goes through the apartments. The channel is narrower here and the walls show the ancient shale layers.


Ravine Walk: Walhalla Ravine

Walhalla is a ravine in Clintonville that follows a street by the same name. It is only visible from just east of High St. to Indianola; the rest has been channeled underground.

July, 2020 – photos by Ellie Nowels

This section has a wall to separate the stream from the road.

Most homes don’t front on Walhalla but rather have very steep back yards. Some like this have some homemade steps or bridges to connect them to the street.

The stream runs mostly north of the road, but crosses under the road to follow it on the south side for a bit.

The stream runs quite close to the roadway.

A Little Free Library. There’s a roadside path just in this small area, but since there are no sidewalks you mostly have to walk in the road.

A fancy treehouse overlooks the stream.

Ravine Walk: Beechwold Nature Preserve

There are 19 nature preserves in Franklin County that are owned by Columbus Recreation and Parks. This is one that is quite small and not well known.  Old Beechwold is accessed from North High St. a little bit south of Graceland Shopping Center and Kenney Park, and is a neighborhood of stately homes,  mature trees (beech and others), and lovely gardens. This unnamed tributary is channelized at the east end (at Rustic Bridge) and flows into the Olentangy. It’s a small park, unmarked, with foot access at Rustic Bridge and on Riverview where it curves into Olentangy Blvd. The stream isn’t shown on USGS topography maps or on Google maps, but it was flowing even in the middle of a dry summer.

The stream flows through the green area – Rustic Bridge to the river – which is the extent of the preserve.

July, 2020 – Photos by Ellie Nowels

east end of the preserveThis is the east end of the preserve; the stream is channelized from the Rustic Bridge east to its point of origin.

dirt pathYou can follow the dirt path at the top of the hill or climb down into the ravine to walk in the stream.

shale-lined stream bed A shale-lined stream bed makes for a lovely walk.

concretionsA number of nice concretions in the stream bed.

Entrance to the Olentangy
Where the stream enters the Olentangy it passes under some sewer pipes. There are no public pathways north or south along the river bank.

Ravine Walk: Bill Moose Run

Photos from the section of Bill Moose Run between its confluence with the Olentangy River and where it enters the tunnel under North High St.

July, 2020 – Photos by Ellie Nowels

Ebony jewelwing damselfly – one of many found near the water.

One of many concretions

Much of the stream bed is lined with shale. A paw paw grove can be seen on the left.

Ramp flowers

Interesting root formation

The stream actually passes under Wesley Glen. See Ravinia Spring/Summer 2020 for an article about Wesley Glen’s appreciation of this lovely stream in their back yard.

At the end of Bill Moose Run, erosion is changing the shape of the mouth of the stream by undercutting the banks.

2018 Annual Plant Walk

Annual Plant Walk at Scioto Grove Metro Park

On a sunny, but chilly day, an enthusiastic crowd stood on an observation deck overlooking a large patch of trout lilies. A ravine slope along the edge of the Scioto River with mature, leafless trees set the stage for emerging spring ephemerals whose beauty was highlighted by Friends of the Ravines’ annual plant walk. On our walk, we saw specimens of cut-leaved toothwort, Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauty, bloodroot, Virginia waterleaf, and harbinger-of-spring. And here and there the landscape was dotted with the familiar blue blossoms of Virginia bluebells and common blue violet. Leading walk were Metro Park Naturalists, Carrie Morrow and Gregg Wittman who told the history of the 620-acre park located just eight miles south of downtown Columbus.

After the one-and-a-half-hour walk, participants socialized and enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies at the park’s Arrowhead Picnic Area. Metro Parks has developed this park for people of all ages and abilities to experience nature and enjoy quality time for family and friends. Be sure to check Friends of the Ravines’ Facebook page and website for information about FOR’s 2019 Annual Plant Walk. Location TBA.

Plant talk before the walk

Heading into the ravine

An abundance of trout lilies

Winners of the 2018 Ravine Art Contest

Since 2011, The Ravine Art Contest for K-12 students of Franklin County has celebrated the artwork of central Ohio youth, and each year there are surprising entries that show how much kids know about our local ravines. The entries to the 2018 contest are a testament to the imagination and hard work of the student artists. Join FOR in congratulating each member of the 2018 winner’s circle as well as their families, teachers and schools for a job well done.

2018 Student Winners

Visual Art Grades K-2
Jacob Howell, Grade 2, of Como Elementary (not shown) for his colorful owl painting that evokes the essence of an urban owl.


Visual Art Grades 3-5
Joseph Johnson, Grade 4, of Starling K8 for his oak leaf painting on cloth that stands as a tribute to the giant trees that grace ravine landscapes across central Ohio.


Visual Art Grades 6-8
Hattie Edinger, Grade 6, of Columbus Gifted Academy, for her 3D collage entitled “Purple Patch” that is a delightful explosion of color with violet blossoms emanating from the surface of the artwork. Hattie commented, “I chose wood violets because they soothe and inspire me”.


Visual Art Grades 9-12
Trevon Pittman (not shown), a senior at Marion Franklin HS for his skillfully executed landscape painting entitled “Walhalla” that captures the beauty of a wooded ravine on a hot summer day.


Friends of the Ravines also recognized the achievement of Thomas Gott, an eighth grade student from Columbus Gifted Academy. His entry, “A Possible Future” was comprised of artifacts gathered in a ravine near his home and made a statement about litter problems in our local ravines.

Sterling Jackson and his mother receiving his participation award. We are proud of all our young artists and enjoyed and appreciated all the very creative and artistic entries.

Thanks also to the teachers associated with the winning entries including: Kassie Hurley-Hook of Como Elementary, Amy Simmons of Starling K8 School, Michelle Alder of the Columbus Gifted Academy and Maria Francesca Fleming of Marion Franklin High School.

Thanks to everyone that entered and made the 2018 contest a very memorable event!

The 2018 Ravine Art Contest is made possible through the generosity of individual donors as well as a Franklin County Neighborhood Arts grant from the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.

2018 Ravine Art Contest

Official Rules and Information

Sponsored by Friends of the Ravines

Artist Olabisi Peters; Columbus Gifted Academy

Friends of the Ravines is proud to announce our 7th Ravine Art Contest: Artwork Inspired by Franklin County Ravines,” a contest for students in Franklin County Ohio. Entries of poetry and 2D art will be accepted for four grade categories including elementary (K-2) and (grades 3-5), middle school (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12). All entrants, friends, families and teachers are invited to attend an Award Ceremony at the Northwood ARTSpace, 2231 N. High Street, on March 9, 2018. Prizes will be awarded to first-place winners in each grade category. Winning works and selected entries will be publicly exhibited at the Northwood ARTSpace during late February and March 2018.

Ravine Art Contest Deadline is January 19, 2018

Enter Today!

Contest Rules

  • The Ravine Art Contest is open to all Franklin County students in grades K-12. Public and private school students, latchkey participants and home schoolers are encouraged to enter.
  • A completed entry form must accompany all submissions. Entry forms can be downloaded here.
  • Entries must be original, flat works of art or poetry. No electronic reproductions, tracings, or copies will be accepted. Entries must be submitted flat or rolled, not folded.
  • One contest entry per student.
  • Subject matter of each entry must be an original artwork related to Franklin County Ravines. What is a ravine habitat? What kinds of animals live there? What trees and shrubs grow there? Is there a stream and aquatic life? Are there insects or birds? How do ravines make you feel?
  • Maximum size of 2D artwork should be 18” X 24”, not including matting. Entries in all grade categories must be matted or mounted (floated) and ready to display. DO NOT FRAME ARTWORK.
  • Poetry Guidelines: Any form of poetry will be accepted up to 500 words. Student poets may use photographs posted on Friends of the Ravines website for inspiration or find their own form of inspiration.
  • Poetry entries and entry forms may be submitted electronically in jpeg, doc, or pdf format. Send to Put Ravine Art Contest in the subject line.
  • Entries may be submitted by U.S. Mail to Friends of the Ravines, P.O. Box 82021, Columbus, Ohio 43202.
  • Entries can be delivered in person to the Indianola Informal K-8 School at 251 East Weber Road, Columbus, OH 43202. Please call the school at (614) 365-5579 for drop-off hours. To make alternate arrangements to submit entries, contact the Contest Coordinator at (614) 447-1650 before the deadline.
  • All non-electronic entries must include an entry form securely affixed to the back. Teachers/Sponsors of contest winners will be notified by e-mail and/or phone at the contact information provided on the entry form by February 28. Incomplete entry forms may be disqualified.
  • Entries must be submitted or postmarked by January 19, 2018.
  • By entering, the artist gives Friends of the Ravines and contest sponsors permission to use their artwork or poetry in a public art exhibit, on their website, social media or communications and in the Friends of the Ravines’ newsletter, Ravinia. All artwork remains the property of the artist.
  • Friends of the Ravines will take great care of all entries; however FOR is not responsible for events that may cause damage to the entries.

Contest Judging
Entries will be judged by artists and/or former teachers from the central Ohio area. The judges will evaluate technical ability and creativity as it relates to the “Artwork Inspired by Franklin County Ravines” theme. Depictions of ravines must have appropriate ravine inspiration, and be tastefully rendered. Friends of the Ravines reserves the right within their complete discretion to disqualify any entries that may be deemed unsuitable for public display.

Optional: Contestants may choose to attach a brief statement (50 words max.) about their medium, subject, interpretation, favorite ravine, or any other information they feel is relevant to judging.

Contest Awards

  • Teachers/Sponsors will be notified via phone or email by February 28, 2018.
  • Prizes will be awarded in the form of gifts or certificates from a local art supply, book store, or local merchant depending on the nature of the entry. Prizes will be awarded to winners in the following groups: grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.
  • School sponsors of the winners will receive a school specialty gift certificate or check for sponsors to use in purchasing classroom supplies. The amount and number of school prizes will depend on the entries and level of funding available. At least three school prizes will be awarded to public, private or parochial schools or arts-education organizations. School prizes will not be awarded to individuals.

Public Art Exhibition

  • All winning entries will be on display at the Northwood ARTSpace, 2231 N. High Street, Room 100 from February 23 through March 23, 2018.
  • A reception for all entrants, friends, families and teachers will be held on Friday March 9, 2018 at 7:00 PM.
  • Winners are not required to be present to win.

Return of Artwork

Artwork may be picked up at the Indianola Informal K-8 School after March 26, 2018. Teachers or parents may submit a stamped and self-addressed envelope for the return of entries. Friends of the Ravines is not responsible for artwork not picked by April 16, 2018. Please call the Indianola Informal K-8 School at 251 E. Weber Rd. for drop-off hours at (614) 365-5579.

The 2018 Ravine Art Contest is made possible through the generosity of individual donors as well as a Franklin County Neighborhood Arts grant from the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.