Volunteers work to restore Olentangy River floodplain

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A group of volunteers in Columbus is changing the environment one tree at a time and bringing the Olentangy River and its floodplain back to its natural state.

“We want to get rid of the invasive and plant new trees here,” said Andrew Heckler, Chairman of Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed.

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed, the environmentally friendly organization also known as FLOW, led Saturday’s event ahead of Earth Day later this month. The area along the river used to be used for extra parking during Ohio State football games, which ruined the soil and the trees once living there.

“Trees are invaluable in helping because they take up carbon dioxide,” said FLOW member Laura Fay.

More than 250 volunteers helped plant 2,100 trees along the river.

“I definitely am very impressed with the work that Columbus does. Since I’ve come down here, they have really pushed fully into the green initiative,” said volunteer Dan Harbar.

Harber is an Ohio State University student with the School of Environmental Natural Resources. With new buildings being built along campus, he says projects like this will help restore natural habitats around the school.

“This community, this environment, it gives us all a healthy place to work and to play, to live. The air we breathe, the water, we take those things for granted to often,” said Harbar.

“I think there are areas where there have been some successes, but I think there is a long ways to go. There is a lot of awareness of what we can do,” said Heckler.

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