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Environmental Science Class Explores Olentangy Wetlands 

Seniors Angela H., Alison C., Eleanor S., and Lydia W. (Courtesy/ Mrs. Downey) 

On Monday, April 15, Ms. Downey’s Block 2 Environmental Science class embarked on its second field trip of the semester. Ten students and Ms. Downey boarded a bus at noon and headed to the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park by the Ohio State University and to tour the park and conduct on-site research. 

The tour started at the Heffner Wetland Research and Education Building where we met our tour guide and the site outreach director, who detailed a rundown of the park, where everything was located, the basic facts about the wetlands, and the history of the park.

We started the tour by walking towards the Sandefur Wetland Pavilion past the mini prairie which was under the experiment by OSU graduate students who were working on thistle removal and biodiversity growth. On the left side of the road, we witnessed another graduate student conducting her cluster experiment on the relationship between the soil and bees. Once we reached the pavilion, the elevated surface provided us with a clear view of the experimental wetland number 1 and also presented us with a detailed poster of all the different bird species that have inhabited the park. Our tour guide showed us the boardwalks across the wetland so all parts of the wetland are able to be experimented on and also showed us the intakes and outtakes of the water flow in the wetland. Furthermore, the park director specializes in bird migration studies and is very passionate about the birds that stop by the wetland park as they migrate north. After the temporary shade from the sun, we walked along the bottomland hardwood forest where we learned about the invasive honeysuckle that has yet to be tackled for years, the bat houses and bee hotels that are also under experimentation, and we saw a muskrat swimming into its home! To conclude the tour, we were allowed to take samples ourselves. Nets and sampling trays in hand, we explored the wetland for around 30 minutes. We found snails, larvae, spiders, and more aquatic species. 

Thank you to Ms. Downey for organizing this well rounded and enjoyable learning experience! 


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