April a Shower of Projects for Committee

The Harrison West Society Parks and Green Space Committee jumped into spring with a pair of big, successful volunteer opportunities.

Mary and Mark Clearing HoneysuckleOn April 6, 2013, the Committee—with the help of Battelle, FLOW and HandsOn Central Ohio—staged part two of their effort to clear honeysuckle from the east bank of the Olentangy River adjacent to Battelle’s property. Sixty-five volunteers, including neighborhood residents, alumni groups and OSU students among others, joined in the enormous project. In three hours, the team successfully cleared the bank from West Fifth Avenue south to the Battelle Discovery Center. Last August, volunteers cleared the area from the Discovery Center to West Third Avenue.

The views of the river are beautiful; within a few days of the event, much of the work area was flooded with tiny yellow wildflowers on a bed of green. We’ve even spotted a couple albino squirrels in the area having lunch. Pictures of the event are available here.

After the cleanup, Battelle hosted volunteers for pizza and soda with Gretchen’s home-made brownies and cookies for dessert. (Yum!)

The Parks and Green Space Committee wants to thank all the volunteers for coming out. Without so many helping hands, we never would have been able to make this project happen. We will continue to mop-up the area, removing honeysuckle that we missed and eliminating new growth.

Spicebush PlantingAfter three years of removing honeysuckle and invasive species all along the river, the Committee felt it was time to start re-establishing the environment, so on April 20, 2013, we hosted a tree planting.

While the honeysuckle and grapevine had little to recommend them, one important function they did serve was to stabilize the riverbank. Now that they’re gone, the network of roots that helps hold the soil in place during rain and floods is dying. In order to prevent erosion, new plants need to replace those that have been removed.

Through a generous donation by Green Columbus (and facilitated by FLOW), we received 50 river birch and 50 spice bush seedlings. Fifteen volunteers found our project on Green Columbus’ EarthDayColumbus.org website and came out to help us plant them along the northern half of Harrison Park. In about an hour, we were out of trees! (Note to self: More trees next year!) If you walk along the top of the bank, you can see them all tagged with orange ribbon. Pictures of the event are available here.

The Committee expects to make this planting a yearly event. We hope to install several hundred trees from West Fifth Avenue all the way down to Goodale Street over the next several years.

Thanks to volunteers who came out on a cold morning to work on a slippery, muddy, steep slope. The spice bushes will serve us well retaining the bank at West Second Avenue and screening the sewer outfalls from view, and the river birches will be a great addition to the variety of species along the bank.

If you would like to volunteer for the Harrison West Society Parks and Green Space Committee, contact Bob Mangia, committee chair. The Committee, which is responsible for the planning and maintenance of more than 20 planting beds as well as the parks and the riverbank, hosts two workdays each month. We have a lot of ground to cover and welcome the help of all volunteers, no matter their skill level.

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