Nature and outdoors briefs from around Central Ohio.

Hikes, festivals punctuate final weeks of fall color

The fall color season is peaking throughout the state, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is hosting numerous events to celebrate the prettiest trees in the Midwest.

As of Oct. 15, nearly all state parks and nature preserves were at or near peak, meaning at least 30 percent of trees had begun to show their brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and purples. Some areas had as much as 85 percent showing.

That's one reason to attend Rural Ohio Appalachia Revisited, a day of crafts, music and food Saturday, Oct. 25, at Lake Hope State Park in Vinton County. You'll also find plenty of beautiful autumn vistas at Hocking Hills State Park, which hosts Haunted Hocking Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Expect pumpkin carving, hayrides, tricks, treats and the like at the Old Man's Cave campground.

Other ODNR events are planned through Nov. 2.

Web: ohiodnr.com

Fishing tourneys set for Miami Whitewater park

Throughout Central Ohio, low water levels have shut down many spots that normally would be going gangbusters during the fall season. Lately, finding a good hole on Big Darby Creek or the Scioto and Olentangy rivers can mean much patience and miles of wading.

If you're not up for that, try the action during two final tournaments in the Fall Fishing Classic at Miami Whitewater Forest in Hamilton County. Fishermen will hit crappie and bluegill in the Pan Fish Challenge Saturday, Oct. 25, and wrangle a wider range of species in the Turkey Day Open Saturday, Nov. 15.

Entry costs $30 and $40 respectively, and includes boat rental. Registration begins an hour before the tournament. Prizes will be awarded.

Web: greatparks.org

OSU professor lauded for study of climate change

On Ohio State University professor was named one of Time's 30 "Heroes of the Environment" in the magazine's Oct. 6 issue, honoring his work on global warming.

For three decades, Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist who teaches earth sciences, has predicted that the world's tropical and temperate ice caps would be among the first indicators of climate change. He has led expeditions on five continents to study ice cores that date back more than 750,000 years.

In 2007, Thompson was awarded the National Medal of Science and was recognized by Time in 2001 as part of its "America's Best in Science and Medicine."

Web: time.com

Small trees to be celebrated at conservatory

Thanks to a strong local bonsai chapter and the city's leading horticulture organization, renowned practitioners of the ancient Japanese art form will convene in Columbus for the first Ohio Bonsai Exhibition.

The celebration, running Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 25-26, is part of Franklin Park Conservatory's Bending Nature series, which looks at the parallels between art, nature and science. (Read more on page 40.)

Bonsai clubs from across the state will showcase prize specimens, discuss their craft and offer tips on caring for delicate, miniature trees. Vendors will offer supplies for getting started, as well as finished products, and a series of seminars will cover everything from shaping limbs to creating realistic settings.

Admission is free.

Web: columbusbonsai.org

Outdoor Tip of the Month

Temperatures oscillated greatly during my camping trip Oct. 10-12 -- nights in the low 40s, days reaching high 70s. When going to bed in the cold, wear a knit cap. Nearly 80 percent of heat loss occurs via the dome, and the hat can be removed at sunrise without getting out of your bag. Also, even in dry weather, attach the rain-fly to trap body heat inside your tent.