Meek Retention Pond Native Plantings
Project Participant: Amanda Marshall
The goal of this project is to plant a rain garden(s) near the retention pond outside of Meek Aquatics Center at Ohio Wesleyan University. This project will not only add to the aesthetic value of a relatively barren area of campus, it will lessen Ohio Wesleyan’s and Meek’s environmental footprint. The aquatic center’s roof is made of nonporous material. As a result there is more rain runoff, risk of intensified floods and possibly an increase in local water pollution. To mitigate these impacts, the retention pond was build to catch some of the runoff water. However, adding a rain garden will help filter pollutants and absorb rainwater back into the soil. Additionally, planting native species of plants will attract and provide habitat for native Ohio wildlife.
These ecological benefits especially go hand in hand with Meek Aquatic Center because the center embodies low impact, and eco-friendly development. The building is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, features a geothermal heating system, a reflective clay tile roof and the building materials are either local, recycled, low-voc (volatile organic chemical). The building plans were made to fit conservation and sustainability goals on campus. It is appropriate that the nearby grounds support the environment and wildlife as well.
This project was initiated by Caitlin Mcnoughtan and Cynthia hastings and continued by Luke Steffen in 2015. My role in this project would be evaluate, finish and execute the plans they have laid in place. The Building and Grounds Department has approved of two areas where we can plant the rain gardens. These areas are around the semicircular patio on the northwest side of the pond and around a dead willow tree on the sloping area on the north point of the pond. The garden around the patio will border (with a three foot clearance) the side of the patio facing the pond, and semicircular in shape. The extremities will be 2 feet wide and the middle of the semicircle will be 8 feet wide. The second garden will span a twelve-foot radius around the willow tree. This garden will be circular in shape, excluding where the pond is. Due to their gentle slope, these areas work well for the purpose of a rain garden. The water will trickle down the slope and enter the garden areas. Additionally, they follow the pre-existing architecture of the grounds and will add to the aesthetic beauty of the area.
To build the gardens, a six-foot ditch will need to be dug where they will be placed. Hopefully grant money from FLOW will be able to pay for this expenditure, materials, and plants. The ditch will then need to be filed with sand, silt, and topsoil moisture. A wall will also need to be put in place to border the garden. This wall will likely be made of rocks and will help protect the plants within the garden, and preserve the topsoil. Then with the help of volunteers from the Treehouse SLU and EW club, we will plant the garden!! The plants previously suggested are nodding pink onion, white wild indigo, purple prairie clover, purple cone flower, stiff golden root, ironweed, joe pye weed, turtle head, prairie blazing star swamp milkweed, fox sedge, and new England asters. These native plants were specially picked for the soil and topography of the area. They will also add to the quality, health, and beauty of the area for years to come.
I think it would be nice to do a PowerPoint presentation on the project with photos of the process, planting, and before and after images of the grounds.
Goals of this project – First I would explain why this project benefits the environment and the Ohio Wesleyan community. I would describe how rain gardens in general are implemented to mitigate the environmental impacts of non-porous construction materials. Then I would go into how this particular rain garden helps Ohio Wesleyan. I will talk about the runoff from Meek, percolation of that runoff into the soil, and adding aesthetic value to a kind of barren area of campus.
Process – I will first briefly describe what my predecessors accomplished for this project. Then I will go into detail about my role. I will describe and show how we acquired funding, plants, the building process and the fun planting day!
Impact – I would like to add a slide to the presentation on what we can do as individuals to promote native wildlife health at our own property. Specifically, I would like to bring up the importance of planting native plants in our yards.
Conclusion – I will conclude my presentation with photos of the finished product. I may include photos of fully-grown rain gardens to give the class an idea of what the garden around Meek pond will look like when fully grown (and not just as dirt and saplings/seeds)
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