In honor of Earth Day, nearly 60 members of community cleaned up more than 30 bags of litter and planted 250 seedlings at Mingo Park Monday afternoon.
The event, which aimed to clean up the park and repopulate the forest with native species, was a collaboration between the City of Delaware Public Utilities Department, Keep Delaware Beautiful, the Olentangy Watershed Alliance, and the Ohio EPA.
City Arborist Doug Richmond said that in March, a group of volunteers cleared a section of the forest of honeysuckle, an invasive species not native to the area. Richmond said Monday that the volunteers would be planting white oak, swamp white oak, sycamore, shagbark hickory, shellbark hickory, and flowering dogwood to repopulate the area.
Richmond said he was pleased with the event’s turnout of 59 volunteers.
“It’s great to see,” he said. “It’s a beautiful day.”
Nancy Townley, a Delaware resident and member of the Delaware Chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, planted trees at the event with her husband, Chuck, and said they were happy to lend a hand.
“We’ve got to start paying attention to our environment or we’re not going to have a place to live,” Townley said. “It’s great to see so many young people here, too.”
Will Caldwell, a scout in Pack 488, said he was glad to help the forest.
“(I’m here) to help with the Earth,” Caldwell said. “We’re here to help bring back native species.”
Not everyone at the event was local, including Erik Caldwell, who is from Pennsylvania. Caldwell said he and his kids were in town visiting his father, Robert Caldwell, a Delaware local, and thought they’d lend a hand at the event.
“I grew up here,” Erik said. “I remember playing here. It’s fun to come back.”
The 250 seedlings were provided by Green Columbus.
While half of the volunteers planted the seedlings, another group roamed around the park and trudged through the underbrush, picking up litter and trash.
“I care about the environment,” said Delanie Baker, an Ohio Wesleyan University student. Any time I can be involved (in the environment) I’m there.”
Baker, a California native, said she’s studying micro-biology and hopes to use micro-biology in the future to help the environment.
Izzy Riusech and Anna Swanson, two OWU students, were teamed up with Baker. The trio picked up trash near U.S. Route 23.
Riusech said she’s from Texas and has done a few beach cleanups but was glad she came to the event. Swanson, also from Texas, said she’d also done cleanup events before but felt especially compelled Monday.
“It’s Earth Day, and I thought if I’m going to go outside, I might as well clean up,” Swanson said. “I want to do more.”
City of Delaware Watershed and Sustainability Coordinator Carole Cicerchi said Tuesday that volunteers cleaned up 32 bags of litter by the time the event concluded at 6:30 p.m.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.