Stark Parks is looking to improve Tam O’Shanter Wetland with the help of volunteers

JACKSON TWP. – Stark Parks needs your help.

The Parks System Natural Resources Department is looking for volunteers to help plant thousands of native plugs in a wetland being restored at Tam O’ Shanter Park, 5055 Hills and Dales Road NW.

More than 30,000 plugs – small seedlings grown in trays – have been purchased, said Parker Spencer, volunteer coordinator for Stark Parks.

“Instead of getting full sized mature plants, we get flats and it will take about three to five years for them to become mature and established,” he explained.

Throughout June, staff members will be joined by volunteers to transplant seedlings in two sessions from 8am to 11am and 12pm to 2.30pm Monday to Friday.

“If people can show up for even 30 minutes, that’s totally fine,” Spencer added.

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Stark Parks natural resources specialist James Woodworth uses an auger to create holes for Ryan Varga, left, Sean Dick, middle, and Cory Lee, right, to plant in a wetland at Tam O' Park Shanter in Jackson Township.  The wetland will receive runoff from neighboring properties.

Native plants will help restore the wetland basin

Spencer said the recent development of the former Tam O’Shanter Golf Course, which includes around 200 acres of land and three miles of walking and hiking trails, requires the basin to be improved.

Stark Parks’ master plan for the property included stormwater harvesting from the commercial property, as well as planned park and sports fields for the portion of the former Jackson Township golf course.

“The Wetland Basin will serve Tam O’Shanter Park, Jackson Township Park and much of the commercial development to the north to meet stormwater regulations for proposed impermeable areas on nearly all properties on the land. official golf course,” said the Stark Parks master. says the plan. “…The area is intended to function as a wetland as well, which is somewhat difficult to achieve on a site that has sand and gravel soils.”

“The good thing about the wetland, instead of (rainwater) flowing over the grass and asphalt and not being absorbed, it will take longer for the runoff to pass through the wetland and the various plant species will absorb it and purify it,” he added. .

The old golf course has been divided into parts, including a 62-acre flat known as the Greens at Belden.

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The northern part now houses a Meijer Supercenter, a Meijer gas station and convenience store, as well as a seniors’ campus with an assisted living center and apartments.

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In addition to the commercial area and the 200 acres used by Stark Parks, 40 acres are being developed by Jackson Township for sports fields.

The Wetland Basin area is surrounded by the pond to the south, private property with wetlands and a pond to the east, Jackson Township Park to the north and northwest, the Great Prairie to the east. west and the clubhouse to the southwest.

Stark Parks Natural Resources Technicians Ryan Varga and Stephanie Rafferty prepare plants for a wetland at Tam O' Shanter Park in Jackson Township.  The wetland will receive runoff from neighboring properties.

Volunteers needed to reach the goal

The restoration project is partially funded by a grant from the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program, which covers 75% of the cost of the acquisition, restoration, and trail connectivity projects.

Volunteers will help achieve the 25% match through labor contribution.

Spencer said the project is a heavy undertaking and the many volunteers who donate their time will help make the project possible.

Volunteers can help with a number of jobs, including digging holes for plants as well as planting them. They can also help mark areas for plants and organize the many species.

All plants are native to the area and include cardinal flowers, dense blaze stars, marsh marigolds, black-eyed Susans, obedient plants and white turtles.

Before volunteering, participants must register on the Stark Parks website and indicate the date and times when they can help.

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“The process takes about three to five minutes,” Spencer said.

All materials will be provided to volunteers. Volunteers should wear sunscreen, closed shoes and bring water, he said. Restrooms and a water fountain are on site.

Volunteers should be able to walk approximately a quarter mile to the wetland. Spencer said the majority of the walking is on the trail.

Helpers will also be asked to sign a short-term waiver upon arrival at the park, he added.

“They’ll be working mostly with shovels and hands,” Spencer said. “While you are doing the work, our staff who are there are knowledgeable and the volunteers will get to know the property as well as some of the plants we will be installing as well.”

Contact Amy at 330-775-1135 or [email protected]

On Twitter: @aknappINDE

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