Kent’s most predominant physical feature is the Cuyahoga River,
which flows gently through the downtown area and is marked by a beautiful arched dam and waterfalls
near the heart of the business district. The wooded banks of the river serve as buffers, living filters, umbrellas, and anchors; keeping the water cooler, cleaner, and healthier, ensuring a greater diversity
of flora and fauna.
|RIVER PLANTS in the slower, shallow sections of the river. Cattails and other emergent plants grow half in and out of the water, binding the soft rich silt of the river-bottom with their thick mesh of roots. Look for the large, green arrow shaped leaves of the Arrow Arum, closely related to skunk cabbage and Jack-in-the-Pulpit (also found in the park). This plant colonizes through cloning roots or floating seeds.||
BUTTONBUSH, a native Ohio aquatic shrub, balancing on the edge of water and land. Look for its snowball-like flower heads in mid-summer along the small bridge between the dam and Main St. Bridge. Buttonbush is also known as honeyplant because their highly fragrant flowers are loaded with nectar, making them a favorite of many species of butterflies
|SPOTTED TURTLES are active from March to October and are identified by yellow spots on the carapace. They prefer unpolluted, slow-moving, shallow waters with a soft bottom substrate and submergent and emergent vegetation. It is common to see turtles travel in large numbers of about 25-35 adults. Daylight hours are spent eating and basking in the sun. In the evening, they submerge and spend the night on the bottom||SYCAMORE TREES are one of the largest trees in eastern North America. The swift growth of these trees causes the bark to peel away, leaving a distinctive camouﬂage pattern of white, tan, light green and gray. Their twisted roots provide food and shelter for a menagerie of aquatic organisms. Sometimes living for centuries, sycamores become hollowed, their cavities serving as nests for swifts, wood ducks, warblers, honeybees, and small mammals.|
GREAT BLUE HERONS are large, stately wading birds that feed on fish, frogs, snakes, and mice along the river by slowly stalking prey or standing motionless waiting for something to come within reach, then spearing the meal or catching it with their powerful bills. At night they return to their nearby nests, high in trees.
|CARDINAL FLOWERS are native perennials, typically growing along water and in low wooded areas. The scarlet flowers attracted the attention of early settlers, and it was soon sent to Europe and cultivated. Spotted Touch-me-nots share the same turf. Their inch-long golden flowers dangle daintily from a thin stem and have a tail curving under the flower.These flowers were used for centuries by Native Americans for medicines and both are favorites of hummingbirds and butterflies.|