LIMA — A new educational sign was dedicated Thursday afternoon at a prairie site at the corner of Mumaugh and Reservoir roads.
“We’re restoring 19 acres of prairie and the sign will help direct people to some of the things they might see, and explain why prairies are important in maintaining biodiversity, especially of insects and butterflies,” said Jackie Augustine, board member of Tri-Moraine Audubon Society and a professor at OSU-Lima.
“Ohio State Lima prides itself in the natural areas that are on campus. We have 100 acres of woods, some wetlands, some riparian areas, but we were lacking a prairie. We wanted to add a prairie so students could see the diversity of wildflowers and insects in the prairies,” she said.
The prairie is a valuable educational resource for OSU-Lima students.
“We use it in our introductory biology courses. We also use it in upper-level courses such as ecology and students also utilize the prairie for undergraduate research opportunities,” she said.
The restoration of the prairie is an ongoing process which isn’t done yet.
More than 100 species of native prairie plants were sown in June 2017.
“We started two years ago with spraying to kill all of the weedy plants. Last year we seeded it and we continued mowing it so that the plants put all of their efforts in the roots so that hopefully we can let it go and it will be able to bloom,” she said.
The sign was made possible through donations raised through the Ellen and Jim Wright Memorial Fund.
The connection between the Wrights and the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society goes back a few years.
Jim Wright, after he retired, would collect aluminum cans and donate the proceeds to the organization.
“This amounted to two or three thousand dollars a year so the Audubon Society established an education fund. They used money from this fund to create this sign which is a pretty educational sign talking about the prairie development and this program that’s going on on OSU property,” said Dan Wright, son of Ellen and Jim Wright.
Among other benefits, the prairie plans will help monarch butterflies and other insects.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.