First week with FLOW

My first week as a member of the Columbus Foundation Summer Fellowship has been an exciting time! The orientation at the Foundation was much more enjoyable than I anticipated and my fellow Fellows were as nice and as fun as anyone could hope.

My beginning experience with FLOW was equally satisfying, I met Laura a member of the Board and Alice the Watershed Coordinator, they were very excited and had a long list of items for me to cover over the course of the summer. My first afternoon was mainly spent putting dates on my calendar and reading over different documents and initiatives of the organization.

On Tuesday, my first full day I was happy to accompany Alice down to the banks of the Olentangy near the Horseshoe. We met a high school summer animation class which was studying the flow of the river and wanted to know about the river now compared to when the Fifth Avenue dam was still in place. Their questions varied from wanting us to identify wildflowers, trees, birds, and turtles, to ones such as “what natural and manmade threats are facing the river?”

It was a great experience for me to help answer younger kids’ questions as well as to test my knowledge of wildflowers and other species. I also was greatly encouraged to see the development of the new wetlands beside the Olentangy and see that they were already attracting different species. I was also impressed by the use of living willow stakes to help secure the embankment and to protect it against erosion.

One of my first tasks was to examine the city parking ordinance and to look for ways to make it more environmentally friendly. Some easy suggestions revolve around the interpretations of the current wordings having to do with tree placement, and future suggestions include using more bioswales to deal with storm water. It is a real example of how positivism could make a real difference in the city and for the watershed.

Over the rest of the week I helped explore sites for the Anheuser-Busch volunteer cleanup site, participated in a science committee meeting, and began reading over the watershed action plan. I look forward to the next nine weeks and can’t wait to visit more of the watershed’s tributaries!

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