Spring Field Day at Sawmill Wetlands is April 15


April 15, 2023, 10am-noon

Come and join us to observe life awakening in early spring!

As the seasonal wetland fills with spring rain, many small creatures emerge in the temporary water. Their life cycle depends on the coming and going of water. We will find small insect larvae and tiny crustaceans including bright red daphnia, copepods and ostracods. We hope to see the beautiful but elusive fairy shrimp. Many larger animals such as amphibians and birds depend on these small creatures for food.
As it warms up, the forest floor also abounds with spring wildflowers: bloodroot, cut-leaved toothwort, violets, wild ginger, mayapple, trout lilies, Jacob’s ladder and wild geranium are all seen at Sawmill Wetlands. Sawmill Wetlands is also home to many birds, and several species nest here.
This is an event for the whole family. We will have tables with microscopes so you can get a close-up view of the small animals and guides to show you the different wildflowers. We also have several permanent displays. Organized by: Friends of Sawmill Wetlands (Facebook)
ODNR: Sawmill Wetlands Educational Area, 2650 Sawmill Place Blvd, Columbus

March 22 is World Water Day!

Happy World Water Day 💦
This day was adopted by the UN in December 1992. It’s a day to talk about the importance of fresh water. That’s really important to us as well! Here are five ways you can help your local watershed!

Help the watershed by reducing your lawn! 40% of the Olentangy Watershed is made up of lawns. If everyone reduced their lawn to plant native trees & plants there would be less mowing, an increase in wildlife habitat and diversity, reduced water usage, and reduced flooding. It also looks beautiful! It’s a win-win situation.

Help the watershed by making sure Only Rain Down the Drain! 💦

Reduce your use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. These chemicals are often washed from your grass and plants into the nearest storm drain, where they will eventually end up in the river and harm wildlife, pollute drinking water and cause algae blooms.

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio contracts with a local company to safely dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) such as chemicals, gasoline, oil, pesticides, batteries, and more. Visit @swaco_green for information on what items are accepted and HHW drop off locations. Never dump chemicals or fertilizers down the storm drain.

Another way to make sure “Only Rain Down the Drain” is by adopting a storm drain. Find a nearby storm drain and keep it free of trash, leaves, and sticks. This prevents clogs at the storm drain, which reduces the chance of street flooding, basement back-ups and damage to property. 

One way to help the watershed is to pick up litter. The litter you see while out on a walk or driving around is very likely to end up in our rivers and streams. When taking a walk, take along a bag and pick up the trash you see. If everyone did this we’d find a lot less in our waterways.

We often find plastic water bottles, takeout containers, straws, aluminum cans, cups, cigarette butts, snack bags and masks at our cleanups

Bradford Pear, Winter Creeper and Amur Honeysuckle. What do these three have in common? They’re all invasive non-native species of plants that you can see all over Ohio. These species were introduced to the area and quickly took over. Why is it important to remove them? We remove invasive plants because they don’t offer good food or habitat for local wildlife. They also crowd out the native plants, shrubs and flowers that are greatly beneficial to the wildlife.

If you have a hedge of non-native honeysuckle in your backyard or a Bradford pear we ask that you’d consider cutting it down and planting a native tree or shrub.

If you have winter creeper taking over a tree please cut the winter creeper at the base of the tree. Winter Creeper can cause your tree to lose limbs and die over time.

FLOW will have two opportunities coming up later this year to purchase native plants for your yard. Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District also has a sale going on through the March 26th on Spring native plants and trees. (https://www.franklinswcd.org/tree-and-plant-sale


Help the watershed by planting native plants and trees. Native plants and trees not only provide food and habitat for our wildlife friends, but their extensive roots also absorb rainwater that otherwise might cause flooding.

FLOW has many upcoming opportunities to volunteer to plant trees and help at one of our tree nurseries. 


How is Climate Change Impacting the Olentangy Watershed?

How Is Climate Change

Impacting the Olentangy Watershed? 

Monday, Jan 16 at 7pm
via Zoom


Laura Fay, Chair of the Science committee at FLOW will present a slide show followed by Q&A discussion of effects of climate change on our local watershed. Simply Living is hosting the event and the Columbus chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby will co-sponsor.





A year-end message from the president

As the year is ending we have been reflecting on what an amazing year 2022 has been. Together we have done so much to help the Lower Olentangy watershed. Over 3,384 volunteer hours have been spent cleaning up trash, planting trees, maintaining pollinator gardens, monitoring the tributaries of the Olentangy River, removing honeysuckle and other invasive plants and so much more. We couldn’t do this work without your time and financial support. Thank you!!!

Thank you for reading this special letter from FLOW Board President, Kelly Thiel:

This fall, on a beautiful afternoon, I took a walk along the Olentangy trail just south of Henderson Road. What used to be open grassy fields next to Whetstone High School is now planted with a row of native trees, ready to provide years of shade to trail users and an improved ecosystem for the area. This successful project is just one of many that FLOW made possible this year. Our grant writers are always on the lookout for opportunities to bring dollars to our communities and improve the watershed for all of its inhabitants. These trees were obtained through a grant FLOW received and planted by FLOW volunteers. Our hope is that everyone who passes by these trees benefits from their proven ability to clean the air, improve the soil, increase wildlife habitat, filter storm water and regulate the surrounding temperature.

In order to continue to make a difference we rely on the support of generous individuals and businesses in our community. If you have been to a FLOW event in the last couple of years then you are likely familiar with our fabulous event coordinator. With your support we can keep this position filled, keep our tools stored, and the lights on in our small office. We depend on our community recognizing the value of a healthy watershed to continue to fund the work we do.

In these days of increasing costs for everything from groceries to goods and services my family has been using the outdoors as free entertainment and a benefit to our mental health. It can be easy to take our green spaces for granted and ignore that Columbus is one of the fastest growing heat islands; increased development will put a strain on our streams and tributaries. FLOW remains focused on our mission to maintain the value of one of the community’s most precious assets–The Olentangy River. We need your help to continue this mission and meet the environmental challenges ahead.

If you have donated to FLOW in the past, THANK YOU! Our donors and volunteers make FLOW the great organization it is today. We hope that you’ll consider becoming a member of FLOW. You can give a one time gift or we hope you’ll consider giving as a monthly supporter. Your tax-deductible donation will help keep the Olentangy River safe, clean, and healthy for generations to enjoy in the decades to come. Visit the support page on this website for ways to donate.






Nov. 16 Webinar – “Give me Shelter: Supporting Wildlife in the Watershed Year Round”

Rebecca Rose is the conservation liaison for the Ohio Wildlife Center.  She joined the OWC team in 2019 after retiring from the Columbus Zoo where she served as the Zoo’s field conservation officer.

Throughout her career, Rebecca has been dedicated to grassroots conservation initiatives, and currently serves on the board of directors for the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), Friends of Bonobos (supporting the world’s only sanctuary for the endangered bonobo) and the Center for Conservation Peacebuilding based in Washington, D.C.  She is a founding member and serves on the steering committee for the Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation conference, an international meeting launched at the Columbus Zoo in 1995.  Rebecca is a presenter and organizer for the local initiative, Finding Your Voice (FYV), a biennial meeting hosted by Otterbein University.  FYV aims to provide practical information and inspiration to young people interested in careers in wildlife conservation.  Rebecca recently completed the Climate Reality Project 8-day training with former Vice President Al Gore, and is certified to present on the topic of climate change.

Rebecca has traveled throughout the United States, Central and South America, Southeast Asia and Africa, in support of wildlife conservation initiatives.