A new environmental organization on campus is hosting its first ecological restoration project Saturday by clearing ground along the Olentangy River bank for its future tree-planting events.
The international organization, Society for Ecological Restoration, started a student chapter at Ohio State in Spring 2018. Membership comprises both graduate and undergraduate students who want to learn more about restoring the environment and taking action.
“The restoration project is the big draw for students to get hands-on experience,” Katie Gaffney, a third-year in environmental science, said.
The removal project will focus on clearing out and cutting down two woody invasive species — callery pear and honeysuckle trees. This is to prepare the ground for 1,000 native trees in April.
Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed — a group that aims to “enhance the health of the Olentangy Watershed” by campaigning for the planting of trees, according to its website — has partnered up with the club for this event, letting it borrow necessary equipment such as shovels, gloves and herbicides.
Gaffney, undergraduate adviser to the club president, said teams of people will work together to cut down trees with experienced members of the club on hand to assist. Their goal is to also educate people about the importance of restoring the land.
Ryan McCarthy, a graduate student in plant community ecology and treasurer of the club, wants to not only restore the grounds of the Olentangy, but also show volunteers the importance of the work.
“It’s one thing to research the effects of climate change on plant communities, but it’s another thing to work directly to rebuild the magnificent forest that we once had here in what is now the Ohio State campus,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said he hopes this event will allow members and volunteers alike to take the knowledge and experience they gain and use it to make a difference later on in life.
“When we think of a positive legacy we as Buckeyes can leave for our campus community, I can think of nothing as permanent as planting trees,” McCarthy said.
The event will take place by the Fawcett Center on the Olentangy River bank from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. More information is provided on the group’s sign-up sheet, which can be reached by going to www.go.osu.edu/plant-osu.