We are pleased to introduce our new (and first!) Conservation Specialist, Zach Bollheimer! Zach has worked as a Water Quality Intern for the Ohio EPA, an Urban Conservation Specialist for the Licking County Soil and Water Conservation District, and in several other conservation-related positions in Kentucky and Washington.
He holds an Ohio Pesticide Applicator's License and has Wildland Firefighter experience. He also received training and certification in Green Infrastructure Construction and Maintenance for the City of Columbus. His knowledge of storm water management, invasive species control, planting, and general site management will be of great value to MAD Scientist Associates, as we attract bigger and better ecological restoration and wetland construction projects around Ohio. Welcome to the Team, Zach!
MAD Scientist Associates is always happy to team with the City of Westerville Parks & Recreation Department to connect with the community in sharing about wetlands and the natural wonders held within sites like Highlands Park. On Friday, May 18, the third of our Frog Friday events was held, and nearly 100 community members of all ages came out to learn about the frogs on site: American toad (Anaxarus americanus) adults and tadpoles, bullfrog (Ranas catesbeiana), green frog (Ranas clamitans), and gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor). Toad tadpoles were also seen in abundance, and a large mass of gray treefrog eggs were observed. MAD provided nets that children used to collect frogs for closer observation (then released them).
On Saturday of the Wetland Weekend, we hosted our annual Wetland Workshop, also at Highlands Park. Mark Dilley welcomed the 75 attendees and gave them a brief introduction to wetlands and their importance to our drinking water and overall ecosystem. MAD staff members and interns hosted stations around the wetlands to help visitors learn about its various aspects: soils, amphibians, invertebrates, and wildlife. Exploration was also encouraged, allowing participants to wade into the nature play area wetlands to use small nets to discover the life forms below the water. Some notable wildlife observations include: mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), and great blue heron (Ardea herodias), and a nesting blue bird pair (Sialia sialis). The rain caused us to wrap up a bit early, but a lot of fun and learning took place!
A big thanks to Schneider's Bakery for donating a box of doughnuts for our event participants to enjoy. Watch our events calendar next May to join in the Wetland Weekend fun!
On April Fool's Day, claiming 10 years in business may seem like plenty;
But on Sunday (believe it or not), our company turned TWENTY!
It’s no joke! We’re TWO decades older, TWO decades stronger, TWO decades wiser, and still MAD about the environment after all these years! We’ve been fortunate to have had valued clients and a superb, growing team who have made all these years of hard work and dedication in environmental consulting and conservation both fun and fruitful.
More information about events to commemorate our milestone of 20 years will be forthcoming. Stay tuned to MAD Scientist Associates’ website and social media!
MAD Scientist Associates teamed with CT Consultants to develop a plan to improve Lucien M. Clemons Park in the Lake Erie coastal community of Marblehead Village. MAD’s role was to design the ecological restoration plan for the park, with an emphasis on native Lake Erie shoreline plant communities. CT Consultants designed the park’s amenities and general infrastructure to benefit park visitors. The park will likely be built in phases, as funding is secured. Once complete, the park will be completely transformed. And as one of the few reaches of shoreline that will be publicly accessible, the park usage is expected to be very high. The presentation to the Village council of the conceptual plan for park was attended by a reporter from Port Clinton’s newspaper, The Beacon. You can click here for the full story.
As majority owner, Christine Dilley was approved to renew MAD’s Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) certifications as well as the company’s EDGE certification. The WBE/WOSB certifications are utilized by thousands of major U.S. corporations and federal, state and local government entities nationally. EDGE (Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity Program) is a state of Ohio recognized certification that supports disadvantaged businesses. We are pleased to have this state and national support to allow us to better serve our clients and teaming partners in meeting their needs and goals.
Mark Dilley’s Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) certification was also renewed. As a PWS, Mark will continue to exemplify high standards in the practice of wetland science. This certification signifies that, in the eyes of his practicing wetland professional peers, Mark has continued to develop his wetland career through training, teaching, and taking on leadership roles in the wetland profession. Further, it confirms his dedication to the PWS code of ethics. This certification provides clients peace of mind, knowing they can entrust Mark’s training and oversight of our team of wetland scientists.
MAD associate Jenny Adkins was recently nominated for the position of Secretary with the Environmental Education Council of Ohio (EECO). She will be inducted as an officer at the annual conference to take place April 14 at the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge just east of Toledo. MAD Scientist Associates has long attended and presented at EECO conferences and we look forward to strengthening connections through Jenny’s participation as Secretary.
EECO is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and facilitate environmental education for a more scientifically literate population, resulting in a healthier environment. Members include formal and informal educators, businesses, state officials, students, and individuals. They strive to connect environmental professionals with educators and students seeking expertise and to raise career awareness. If you are interested in learning more about EECO or would like to attend the upcoming conference, contact Jenny or register here. We also encourage our friends and colleagues to donate generously to this reputable organization. Directly or indirectly, environmental education is the reason that there are environmental careers! Educating the next generation is key to a brighter and more livable future.
Our firm takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and we’re making continual improvements to become more sustainable. MAD Scientist Associates has confirmed this commitment by becoming part of Columbus’ GreenSpot program. GreenSpot, now with more than 17,000 members, is a citywide effort to have businesses and individuals “go green” to help create a healthier and more environmentally-conscious Columbus area.
“As a company, we’ve always adhered to the values exemplified by GreenSpot, but now, as a member business, we can reaffirm our environmental ethic and publicly support the Go Green efforts of this organization to help create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable Columbus and central Ohio area,” said MAD associate Jenna Odegard. GreenSpot offers support and suggestions to help its members make the workplace more “green” while decreasing their carbon footprint, and MAD intends to implement as many of these suggestions as possible. This is another way to show the communities in which we work that our company is serious about maintaining the health of our global environment — by taking action at the local level, especially in Westerville and Columbus.
As a member of the program, MAD will be added to the GreenSpot website. On this website, like-minded businesses and individuals can find a list of resources, including a toolkit containing a media release, a template message to help spread the word to colleagues, forms to pledge environmental consciousness and more.
If you or your business are interested in becoming more sustainable, we recommend you visit www.columbus.gov/greenspot to learn more!
Mark Dilley spent the last few weekends in March presenting at workshops held by the Ohio Vernal Pool Network (OVPN) and the Ohio Wetlands Association (OWA).
As President of the non-profit OWA, Mark was responsible for presenting on the topic of the "Flora of Vernal Pools." MAD staffer Jenny Adkins played a key role in developing his presentation. Both are continuing to make improvements to this training module based on feedback from workshop participants.
The presentations took place at Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware and the Brukner Nature Center in Troy. These workshops were conducted to beta-test a "train the trainer" presentation package that is being developed with funding support from an Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) grant from Ohio EPA. The overall goal of the training is to encourage citizen scientists to better understand and appreciate the ecological importance of vernal pools and contribute to their monitoring and protection.
The OVPN is a collaboration between the Ohio Wetlands Association and the Midwest Biodiversity Institute.
The annual Ohio Natural History Conference (ONHC) is an annual conference which typically takes place in Columbus. However, the Ohio Biological Survey (OBS) decided that they would try to move the event to other areas of the state and highlight our various ecoregions in the process. This year, it was held in Cleveland, Lake Erie Allegheny Plateau ecoregion. The event was on Feb. 24 at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. MAD staff Mark Dilley and Jim Palus were both in attendance. The keynote speaker was Martin Kalfatovic, Program Director of the Biodiversity Heritage Library at The Smithsonian. Martin’s keynote address was titled, “Expanding Access for the Local and Global: Increasing Access & Empowering Global Biodiversity Research through the Biodiversity Heritage Library.”
As Chair of the OBS Board, Mark led the process of hiring a new Executive Director for the organization in the weeks leading up to the conference. At the conference, had the opportunity to welcome more than 200 participants, and introduce the new Executive Director, Dr. Connie Hausman, the first female director of OBS.
The group photo shows the current board, as well as two award recipients, Dr. Charles McClaugherty and Emliss Ricks (back row, center, left to right) that were honored at the event.Follow these links to learn more about OBS and the ONHC.
Mark Dilley and Jenna Odgard assisted with the Vernal Pool Extravaganza event, held on March 11 at Rocky Fork Metro Park. Though the weather was less than ideal for a wetland exploration, the event was a huge success, with many families and individuals coming out to learn about the wonders of vernal pools. Our team worked alongside Mick Michacchion from the Midwest Biological Institute, and several Metro Parks Naturalists to guide the group through an emergent marsh and a constructed vernal pool to retrieve funnel traps and look for signs of life in early Spring. Attendants were thrilled to see mole salamanders and wood frogs that braved the frigid temperatures to visit their seasonal breeding sites!
In mid-October, our team finished collecting stream profile measurements on a recently-restored headwater stream at The Wilderness Center in Wilmot, Ohio. While there, they also conducted a brief survey of the fish community with Stewardship Manager, Gary Popotnik. With just a few seine hauls within the restored mitigation reach, they were able to document 12 species, 3 of which were previously undocumented in the original channelized ditch. The team was pleased to see such major improvements in just a year's time!
Pictured here is the banded darter (Etheostoma zonale), a common predator of small streams with ample riffle habitat. Though not visible here, during breeding season (April-May) this species and many other darters are ornately clad in vibrant striping and streaks of red, teal, green, and blue.
We would like to thank Environmental Design Group for getting us involved in this project, The Wilderness Center for accommodating the mitigation for impacts at the Akron-Canton Airport, and ERC (Environmental Remediation Contractors) for doing an excellent job on the construction.
The Crawford Park District received a grant through The Nature Conservancy to enhance a farm ditch (a recently daylighted drainage tile line), that is a tributary to the headwaters of the Olentangy River in Crawford County. MAD Scientist Associates designed a flow-through wetland system that would receive both surface runoff and farm tile drainage.
In MAD's design, surface runoff is guided through a series of wetland step-pools before reaching the lower emergent marsh pool and mixing with the tile drainage in the southern half of the original ditch. This design optimized the wetland area and water quality enhancement opportunities, while eliminating the need for costly hauling of soils for off-site disposal. The high quality vernal pools in Heckert Nature Preserve, downstream of this water quality wetland, should be better protected from excess nutrients and agricultural chemicals now that the drain tile no longer releases directly into the stream at the edge of the woods.
We're hoping to see more progressive projects of this nature to combat nutrient runoff in the future. Thank you to the Crawford Park District for allowing us the creative license to create this unique wetland system. We hope it serves the watershed well!
Collaboration can accomplish great things. Debra Knapke, of Columbus State Community College, headed this wetland creation project at Sharon Meadows Park, owned by the City of Columbus. The Park (site) previously housed the Sharon School building. The 10-acre park features open space, ballfields, a playground, and a paved walking path. Several low-lying areas near the playground were periodically flooded, making them unusable and unattractive. Mark and Daniel completed a soil assessment and topographic survey and determined that a wetland creation project would be possible. Planning and design work was completed in part by BrightView, Columbus State, Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW), and MAD. Columbus State students and faculty, members of the Sharon Heights Community Association, and MAD staff helped plant the newly constructed wetland, which include sedge meadow, emergent marsh, and scrub-shrub zones. The Clintonville Fire Department arrived after the planting to literally hose down the wetland. It was quite the spectacle! Park guests are encouraged to explore the new wetland using the mulched walking path and enjoy unique vantage points from rock slabs. The project was largely funded by U.S. and Ohio EPA grants.
Click HERE to see a video about the project!
MAD has been working with the Greenacres Foundation, a non-profit environmental education and sustainable farming organization in Cincinnati, Ohio, on two exciting wetland projects. Earlier this year, MAD designed and oversaw the construction of a treatment wetland to reduce nutrients in runoff from within and around their cattle weight house. A multi-cell wetland system was created to encourage sedimentation, colloid removal, nutrient sequestration (in plants and soils), and infiltration, before this facility runoff enters a tributary feeding Sycamore Creek.
We are also pleased to report that Greenacres has broken ground on another wetland project near their education building. This one, a failed farm pond, turned emergent marsh, will be restored and expanded for Greenacres to use as an outdoor education site. Our team is working closely with Greenacres' staff to build and plant a wetland that is accessible for student use, and will provide improved water quality and wildlife habitat functions. A bioretention basin at the upstream end of the wetland drainage will receive pasture runoff before entering the marsh. This basin will feature an exposed concrete wall with a glass window that will allow students to get a unique view of the soil profile. As part of their sustainable practices, much of the plant material for this wetland will be grown in-house, or locally sourced.
Click the video GO button below to see how fast our team works!
On Sunday, October 29 [NOTE DATE & TIME CHANGE DUE TO WEATHER], MAD Scientist Associates will be working with the City of Westerville Parks & Recreation Dept. and FACT to host the annual Make a Difference Day event at Boyer Nature Preserve in Westerville, Ohio. We'll be continuing the battle against invasive species in the Preserve, targeting bush honeysuckle and non-native plant removal will be our focus.
This is a family-friendly and group-friendly event, so bring yourselves and everyone you know! There's lots to do.
The event will run from 12:00 noon-3:00.
Boyer Nature Preserve is located at: 452 E Park St., Westerville, OH 43081
Etna Elementary School (grades 4-5) hired MAD to enhance their existing outdoor classroom through the addition of created wetlands and additional native habitats. The original area included mowed paths and a meeting area surrounded by unmowed turf grass. The Etna teachers were specifically interested in improving the existing low-quality emergent wetland, and add native habitat areas, such as hardwood forest, tall-grass prairie, and scrub-shrub wetland. MAD completed a wetland delineation and obtained approval for the project with the Ohio EPA. Thanks to a motivated team and a helpful Etna parent, earthwork began in late April and was finished in August. The team is hard at work applying for grants to complete the project. The Southwest Licking Local School District is eager to have this one-of-a-kind outdoor classroom ready for school use!
Congratulations to Mark Dilley earning approval as a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP) and to staffer Jim Palus on earning his CERP-in training (CERPIT) from the Society for Ecological Restoration. The Society intends for this certification to encourage a high standard for practitioners who are designing, implementing, overseeing, and monitoring projects throughout the world. We are proud to provide this level of restoration services to our clients!
Contact us for your next restoration job!
We were pleased to get our hands dirty during the final phase of the Kendal at Oberlin wetland enhancement. This was our first major planting event of 2017, with the installation of over 4,000 native wetland and prairie plugs (28 species)! Work on this 2-acre wetland enhancement began in late 2015 with a delineation and permit application. In 2016, the design was completed and put out to bid. Wildlife was relocated to other wetlands within the Kendal property in preparation for earthwork. That October, the wetland basin was shaped and planted with native seed, shrubs, and trees. The basin was completely filled by February of 2017. Residents of the Kendal community have enjoyed monitoring the wetland's development, and will soon have a beautiful view of a wetland system that includes emergent marsh, scrub-shrub, and open water. In order to ensure project success, we will monitor the wetland for water quality, plant establishment, and to manage invasive species over the next two years.
In 2016, Frog Fridays began as a fun way to get the community involved in wetland exploration when amphibian activity is at its peak, and Mark had a free Friday evening. Since then, they have evolved into regular events hosted by the City of Westerville Parks and Rec. department with attendance records exceeding 100!
Events were held periodically on Friday evenings from 7:45 to 9:00 pm. MAD provided amphibians and macroinvertebrates for viewing, as well as sampling equipment for participants to use while exploring the wetland. Frequently observed wildlife include American toads, green frogs, bullfrogs, and gray treefrogs. Oftentimes participants saw the silhouettes of mallards and great blue herons flying in to roost for the night, as well as bats and swallows who emerge in the evening to eat flying insects.
We had a few unfortunate weather events that caused events to end early or be postponed, but we were amazed that diehard amphibian fans were undeterred by cold, rain, and on one occasion, lightning!