November is chilly, so know your frost

November is chilly, so know your frost
Herb Broda

Wayne County's latest park, named for Rittman Mayor William Robertson, is a beautiful example of what can be created when a community decides to channel the efforts of more than a hundred volunteers into a complex project that will enhance the community for many years to come.


November brings cooler weather and a definite possibility of frosty nights. Technically, frost is water vapor that becomes solid. It forms readily on objects like cars, windows and other surfaces including plants that are outside in air that is saturated with moisture. Areas that have much fog also frequently have heavy frosts.

Frost forms when an outside surface cools below the dew point, which is the point where the air gets so cold that the water vapor in the atmosphere turns into liquid. If it gets cold enough for this liquid to freeze, frost forms.

According to National Geographic, there are several types of frost based upon where and how they form. Radiation frost forms tiny ice crystals that usually show up on the ground or exposed objects outside. Hoarfrost also forms in refrigerators and freezers.

Advection frost is a collection of small ice spikes. Advection frost forms when a cold wind blows over the branches of trees, poles and other surfaces.

Window frost forms when a glass window is exposed to cold air outside and warm, moist air inside. Window frost was much more common before people began using double-paned windows.

Rime is frost that forms quickly, usually in very cold, wet climates and in windy weather. Rime sometimes looks like solid ice. Ships traveling through cold places like the Arctic Ocean often have rime covering at least part of the exposed part of the ship.

Frost is of real concern to farmers because it can destroy an entire crop in one evening. One option for farmers is to spray their crops with a genetically modified organism called an ice-minus bacteria, which makes it difficult for ice crystals to form.

Farmers also can protect crops by using the selective inverted sink method. A large fan draws cold, most air into a chimney, which then expels the air safely above the crops without the need to spray plants.

Our newest park

We are fortunate to have a new park in Northern Wayne County. It is in Rittman on the east side of the property formerly used by the Caraustar-Rittman Paperboard Company. William Robertson became mayor of Rittman in 2005 and learned almost immediately that the company that owned the site was ceasing operations.

Recently, Mayor Robertson, the park’s namesake, and I boarded a tractor on a chilly November day and toured the property. The park is a beautiful example of what can be created when a community decides to channel the efforts of more than a hundred volunteers into a complex project that will enhance the community for many years to come.

These volunteers first had to spend a year clearing the site of the remnants of its past. Old fences and power lines were removed, brush was cleared, and trees were trimmed so that paved trails, several parking lots and some small structures could be installed.

The site is large, encompassing 210 acres, and includes excellent habitat diversity such as ponds, streams, wooded areas, meadows and wetlands. The preserve has 7 miles of trails and an observation deck that is currently being constructed on top of a high point on the otherwise flat landscape. The highpoint is affectionately called Mt. Rittman.

In 2018 Rittman received $2.5 million from the Ohio Public Works Commission through the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund. Because of the pandemic, the city received a year extension to spend the funds. Assistance also has come in the form of labor from FirstEnergy and Ohio Edison employees who have planted more than 500 trees at the preserve.

An exciting future addition to the site is the planned development of an environmental education center on the property. A structure already exists that hopefully can be converted into a nature center. The current structure is well located in the preserve near various habitats and has suitable adjacent space for the planting and development of a native plant meadow.

The park is a dynamic example of the power of volunteerism. It would have been prohibitively expensive to pay for the large amount of labor required to prepare the site for visitors. Thankfully, volunteers from Rittman and the surrounding area saw the potential in the site and gave thousands of hours to make the preserve a reality.

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