Renovations at Ohio State Wetland Aim to Ramp Up Its Programs and Impact
Onward: Recent renovations at Ohio State's Olentangy River Wetland Research Park in Columbus are part of a broader effort to increase its access, use and impact.
Ohio -- Ohio State University’s renowned Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland
Research Park, which opened its doors 20 years ago, is now in the process of
opening them wider.
52-acre Columbus facility is undergoing $75,000 in renovations to its main teaching
and research building as part of a broader effort to increase the park’s
access, use and impact.
Programs in the park focus on how wetlands function, how to create and restore them,
and how they benefit the environment and people. Water from the adjacent
Olentangy River fills two main experimental wetlands at the site, which are each about
the size of two football fields. Ohio State officials call it the only facility
like it on a university campus.
Schiermeier is uniquely positioned to more broadly address problems related to
water supply and quality in Ohio and beyond,” said Ron Hendrick, director of
Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, of which the park is
to facilitate this, we need to increase (the park’s) ability to attract
additional researchers, educators and outreach professionals,” he said. “They,
in turn, will expand our impact on students, environmental professionals and
McCready, an Ohio State research associate who manages the park’s day-to-day
operations, said improvements include installing two new classrooms in the Heffner
Wetland Research and Education Building, which have tripled the park’s classroom
capacity, and adding new offices in the building for graduate students and
addition to our traditional ‘Wetlands Management and Ecology’ course, two other
courses are newly based at the facility during autumn semester, ‘Aquatic
Ecology Methods’ and ‘Aquatic Invertebrates,’ ” McCready said. “We’re looking
forward to continuing this expansion.”
park’s computer systems have also been upgraded to safeguard research data
collected at the site, including historical data from the past two decades, McCready
video conferencing equipment in the classrooms may be next, which could expand
enrollment opportunities for Ohio State students in Wooster and at the
university’s other regional campuses, she said.
times we have collaborative research projects with scientists in other states
and countries,” McCready said. “We need to have a better capacity to hold meetings
with them and discuss our research.
would be one of the primary focuses of that equipment. But it also allows us to
start thinking about webinars and expanding our outreach. That’s very important
down the road may be ramped-up programs for K-12 educators, Ohio State undergraduate
students, and students from other colleges and universities, she said.
the park’s research focus may expand to include not just wetlands but wider
water resource issues and possibly urban wildlife, McCready said.
J. Mitsch, a former Distinguished Professor of Environment and Natural
Resources at Ohio State, established the park in 1992. The international Ramsar
Convention on Wetlands in 2008 named it an “International Wetland of Importance”
for its scientific contributions, visitor efforts, and diverse plant and animal
a unique resource that enjoys a long history of on-site research, wide
recognition and strong public support,” Hendrick said.
compared the park to an urban field station.
right next to the university, centrally located in the Columbus metropolitan
area,” she said. “And the community feels very attached to it.
really want to open it up and see it utilized to its greatest potential. We
want to make it easier for people to use and really expand the research,
outreach and educational opportunities.”
for the renovations came from the school, Hendrick said.
park is at 352 Dodridge St. on Columbus’s north side. It’s adjacent to the
Olentangy Trail bike path and is open to the public for walking, birdwatching
and similar activities.
more information, visit the park’s website at http://swamp.osu.edu/.
of Environment and Natural Resources is part of Ohio State’s College of Food,
Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.