Flying to bird feeder. Photo courtesy of Gregory Turner, USDA
Nature’s Gliders: Flying Squirrels
Free Public Meeting May 7 at 7 p.m.
Please note new location:
Columbus Metropolitan Library – Northside Branch, 1423 N. High Street, Columbus, OH
Please join us for this free public presentation and discussion.
OSU Extension Wildlife Program Specialist Marne A. Titchenell will introduce us to the life and habitat of the flying squirrel and other Ohio squirrels. Attendees will learn how to attract flying squirrels to their backyards, as well as tips and plans for constructing and mounting flying squirrel nest boxes.
Sponsored by Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed
The Linden Township & Windsor Elementary tree planting will take place from 9:00 am until Noon on Saturday, April 21st.
Volunteers will meet at: Rosewind Resident Center, 1400 Brooks Ave, Columbus, OH 43211
Be a part of this great community effort!
LEARN MORE, get full details here
Click here to donate – use the tab labeled Windsor/Linden Tree Planting Project
~Written by Bob Fitchko
It was mid-October 2016 and a light fog was giving way to a crisp, clear autumn morning at the Sunny 95 Park and Pond in Upper Arlington, Ohio. The daybreak was welcomed by a transient contingent of neighbors, joggers and dog-walkers. A flock of Mallards casually cruised the pond. A frisky canine viewed the waterfowl intruders. The ducks and the furry, four-footer had a vocal exchange on the legal, though non-binding, water rights to the pond. The debate was ruled a draw. No harm, no “fowl”. The avian delegation flew off; the domesticated mammal strutted away with its owner. A representative snapshot of activity surrounding a local pond in the lower Olentangy watershed. All creatures, large and small, human and not, can enjoy and benefit from a healthy aquatic environment.
The Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) has grant funding (designated the Adopt-A-Pond program) thanks to a generous grant from LUSH Cosmetics. This program will help to improve the habitat and aesthetics of local ponds through the planting of native (soil stabilizing) plants. Multiple benefits of planting native vegetation include: increase the health of the Olentangy watershed, increase the variety of plants and birds around the pond, support native pollinators, provide food and habitat for butterflies and moths, provide more color and blooms, and reduce bank erosion and the rate of pond sediment fill.
The Sunny 95 Pond is located in the lower Olentangy watershed and was selected as a site to be included in FLOWs Adopt-A-Pond Grant program. The pond is a one-third acre storm water retention pond centrally located within the 15-acre Sunny 95 Park development. The park is located at the intersection of Windham Road and Carriage Hill Lane in Upper Arlington (UA). The park is a result of a decade-past UA master development plan resulting in the demolition of Langston Park and construction of multiple family-oriented facilities at the site. Completion of the new park area was opened to the public in 2010.
In early fall 2016, Laura Fay, FLOW Science Committee Chairman, and Steve Cothrel, Superintendent of Parks & Forestry, Parks and Recreation Department, The City of Upper Arlington, met on-site at Sunny 95 Park to discuss possible water quality enhancements to the Sunny 95 Pond. The pond shoreline currently had a variety of plants and tall ornamental grasses around its banks. However, a central fountain and resulting small wave action causes noticeable scouring and bank erosion. Scouring is especially noted along the eastern edge of the pond, primarily due to the prevailing westerly-southwesterly winds common in central Ohio. In addition, professional services for algae control and periodic dredging is part of planned maintenance for the pond in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
Mutual agreement was made by Laura and Steve to add an additional variety of native aquatic plants to the pond shoreline and to plant several native trees just beyond the pond landscape. Lisa Metcalf, Horticulturist, Parks & Forestry, Parks and Recreation Department, The City of Upper Arlington, coordinated the selection and planting of plants and trees.
In mid-October, a trio of FLOW members and two staffers from The City of Upper Arlington, Parks & Forestry, Parks and Recreation Department, gathered at the Sunny 95 Pond to plant a variety of indigenous aquatic plants. Twenty-six native flora were selected and delivered on site by Gale Martin, Natives in Harmony, Marango, Ohio. The list of botanicals included:
Asclepias incarnata (red/swamp milkweed), Eupatoriadelphius maculates (spotted joe pye), Hibiscus mosheutos (crimson-eyed rose mallow), Mimulus ringens (monkey flower), and Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush). With shovels in hand, the new vegetation was planted at four different locations around the pond shoreline.
Danielle and Sarah planting pond plants
Bob delivering plants to Lisa for planting
In late-October, FLOW and UA Parks and Recreation Department staff met again. This time the group convened to add several trees to the park landscape just southwest of Sunny 95 Pond. Three native trees were selected from Willoway Nurseries (aka Premier Plant Solutions): Betula nigra (river birch), Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak), and Quercus rubra (northernred oak). The two oaks had a sturdy 3-4 inch caliper trunk thickness. The river birch exhibited multiple 1-2 inch trunks from its base root ball. The trio of trees was 12-15 feet in height. With strong mind and body, holes were dug, tree root balls set in place, and surrounding rings of mulch spread. As the trees flourish and grow, they should provide additional shade to the pond.
Special thanks to FLOW members Laura, Danielle, Bob and UA Parks & Forestry, Parks and Recreation Department personnel Lisa, Sarah, Scott, Veronica, and Jim. All contributed mightily in the joint effort to support FLOWs Adopt-A-Pond project and planting of the aquatics and trees at the Sunny 95 Pond.
To date, the FLOW Adopt-A-Pond grant program has enhanced water quality and public awareness for multiple ponds in the lower Olentangy watershed. The Sunny 95 Pond project is one of the latest. FLOW has limited additional funding for this program and has recently reached out to local pond owners. The non-profit is seeking several additional participants interested in partnering with FLOW to add nature’s beauty and its benefits to their aquatic ecosystems.
Trees and Pond Plants making a difference at Sunny 95 Pond in Upper Arlington
This summer, Ohio residents will be living among the types of mosquitos that spread Zika and West Nile viruses.
Zika has been linked to serious birth defects. It is not known whether Zika will arrive in Ohio this year, although the mosquitos that spread it are expected to be here.
West Nile often has mild or no symptoms, but it can cause neurological damage in some individuals.
You can conduct your war against these unwelcome attackers by denying them the standing water they need to reproduce. This is by far the most effective way to reduce the number of mosquitos.
If you live in the City of Columbus and got a rain barrel through Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District’s GreenSpot program, you can get free rain barrel water treatment through Columbus. You should be contacted within a few weeks and offered 180-day treatment for your rain barrel. If you are not contacted, you can check your eligibility by calling 614-645-6153 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also buy Mosquito Dunks, Mosquito Bits, or similar products that will interrupt the mosquito life cycle. These are harmless naturally-occurring bacteria.
In the absence of these controls, use up the water in your rain barrel at least once a week. It takes 7-10 days for the eggs to become mature mosquitos.
You have a couple of options for your pond:
• Koi are too large to eat mosquito larvae, but goldfish and guppies will do the job and will get along well with your other fish.
• Mosquitos require shallow or still water, so consider adding a waterfall or fountain.
• Use Mosquito Dunks, Mosquito Bits, or similar products.
Empty the following at least once a week:
• pet water bowls
• flowerpot saucers
• discarded tires
• pool covers
• trash cans