Back to the Land

It may be known collectively as the "Emerald Necklace," but, to Foster Brown, each parcel of the Cleveland Metroparks is a jewel unto itself with a story all its own.

ürown, a naturalist/historical interpreter for the Metroparks, pens, plays and records his own folk music and lyrics to help nature lovers understand the link between their environment and the rest of the world. In previous releases, he's spun tales ofµwhat life was like for those working on the Ohio and Erie Canal in the 1800s and helped children explore the outdoors with "Out of the Wild & Walkin' " and "Wadin' and Wanderin'."

For his fifth CD, "Legacy of the Land: Songs of the Emerald Necklace," Brown writes and performs 16 songs about the people and events that forged the 14 reservations comprising the park system. Listeners will meet philanthropist John Huntington, for whom the 103-acre Huntington Reservation in Bay Village is named; discover how former president Franklin D. Roosevelt created Brecksville Reservation; sing the "Rocky River Blues"; and uncover the stone in Euclid Creek Reservation that brought immigrant quarrymen to Greater Cleveland in the late 1800s.

"My goal is to bring out the meaning and magic of what some consider mundane," Brown says. "A lot of people travel through the Metroparks day by day by day by day. The nature is apparent, but we often pass by road signs and old landmarks without slowing down to see them.

"I want to make sure the history doesn't get overlooked," he adds.

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