Students planting trees at Seeds of Service in Carmack Woods on Oct. 19. Credit: Jessica Klein | Lantern Reporter

This semester’s Seeds of Service event marked the removal of most of the invasive plant species and planting of trees on the final work site, where students continued the tradition in Carmack Woods Saturday morning.

The Undergraduate Student Government at Ohio State and Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping the Olentangy River clean and safe, sponsored the Seeds of Service restoration event along the Olentangy River Trail at Carmack Woods. Seeds of Service seeks to increase ecosystem services to meet Ohio State’s sustainability goals, Alyssa Barbuto, director of sustainability for USG and fourth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability, said. 

Before any trees could be planted, some invasive species, including honeysuckle, had to be eradicated, Alexis Kilbane, deputy director of sustainability for USG and fourth-year in international relations and diplomacy, said.

“Now that the area is clear, people can put down more trees,” Kilbane said, “So we are increasing our canopy level on campus, which is one of our sustainability goals.”

Barbuto said in a text message that this quadrant was the last to be worked on as part of a graduate capstone project with Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed, and there are plans to work on a large tree garden off Cannon Drive, as well as build up the ecosystem surrounding the Olentangy River.

Barbuto said in terms of sustainability goals, the university has a stake in their projects.

“Ohio State is very interested in ecosystem services at the moment,” Barbuto said in a text message.

Students who attended the day of service on behalf of a student organization were able to receive funding for their club, Kilbane said. The 260 attendees could earn up to $120 and use the event toward service hours.

“Through such a small act that is planting one tree, something larger comes together, and we are able to create something like a forest and participate in a beautiful meaningful act that we can share,” Kilbane said.

Students who attended this year’s event — which Barbuto said in a text message had the largest turnout — received a demonstration on how to properly plant a tree and then were able to do it themselves for a few hours.  

“We need the students’ support to increase trees on campus because if the students do not support our goals, then we have no reason to be out here today,” Barbuto said.

Kilbane said the idea, “As Ohio State does, the world follows,” is important to remember as they take action.

“Making it one of our community’s priorities to be healthy and eco-friendly so that the message will be communicated to other people is a good thing,” Kilbane said.

Through planting trees along the river at Ohio State, students are helping to increase the oxygen levels for the entire city of Columbus, Barbuto said.

Kilbane said in the future, she’d like to regulate the bus routes to help facilitate transportation for volunteers as well as expand the project to other locations in order to create a larger leaf canopy. 

The Engaged Scholars logo accompanies stories that feature and examine research and teaching partnerships formed between The Ohio State University and the community (local, state, national and global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. These stories spring from a partnership with OSU’s Office of Outreach and Engagement. The Lantern retains sole editorial control over the selection, writing and editing of these stories.