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!
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.
The City of Westerville City Council proclaimed May 2017 as National Wetlands Month and called upon all citizens of Westerville to aid in the continuing efforts to preserve our valuable wetland resources. In celebration of wetlands, Westerville Parks & Recreations Dept. and MAD Scientist Associates held its 17th annual Wetland Workshop on Sat., May 20, preceded by a Frog Friday on May 19, the night before. Both events were well-attended, with over 70 participants in Saturday's Wetland Workshop. In addition to the City, we would like to thank Schneider's Bakery for their doughnuts and Starbucks on Polaris Parkway for the coffee donations! As you can see in the photos below, great fun was had by all!
On April 25th, Mark was invited to speak on behalf of MAD and as President of the Ohio Wetlands Association, on WOSU's All Sides with Ann Fisher, regarding the recent Rover Pipeline spills in northeastern Ohio. Other guests included Craig Butler, the Director of the Ohio EPA, and Jennifer Miller, the Director of the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter.
January 2017 - Mark was recently elected President of the Ohio Wetlands Association, having spent two years on the board and serving as the organization's Education Chair. The OWA is a state-wide, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting wetlands throughout Ohio. Mark looks forward to his new leadership role in furthering the important work of OWA, particularly as it pertains to raising awareness of these very crucial ecosystems and encouraging wetland restoration efforts across Ohio. As President, one of Mark's main goals is to grow this important conservation organization and garner a broader base of support. He'll be encouraging our clients and colleagues to consider becoming members. If you're interested in becoming a member or wish to learn more about OWA, check out their website.
"Focus Westerville" is an online video series produced by the City of Westerville. The most recent episode highlights the topic of environmental stewardship and how community members can make a difference by understanding and caring for their natural resources.
One of MAD Scientist Associates' favorite projects, the Highlands Park Wetlands, is featured in this production (from 11:25-16:30 in the video). Mark is interviewed about the project background and purpose of the Highlands Park wetland renovation. Footage was captured during the 2016 Wetland Workshop, which is held annually in May, National Wetlands Month. This wetland intercepts stormwater runoff from the aquatic center, parking lots, and neighboring housing developments before it enters Spring Run, a degraded tributary to Alum Creek. After four years of development, the wetland now supports a complex array of habitat types, which has increased use by migratory and resident wildlife. It has also shown to be effective at removing sediments and nutrients within the water column, which means cleaner water for downstream for Spring Run and Alum Creek.
If you watch the entire video, you can learn about stormwater management, hazardous waste disposal, water quality, tree care, and energy conservation! Click the photo above for our segment or click HERE check out the whole video!