Portage Lakes Advisory Council holds Water Quality event

I was pleased to have witnessed first hand on May 4th a great event the Portage Lakes Advisory Council organized at the Portage Lakes Kiwanis.

Portage Lakes Advisory Council

Portage Lakes Advisory Council

Clearwater Systems

The Council invited Clearwater systems that was assisting citizens with testing their water samples from their lakes as well as homes and providing feedback on whether they found any problems.

Here’s a few pictures of them in action:

Clearwater Systems

Clearwater Systems

Clearwater Systems

Clearwater Systems

City of Green’s Steese Road Educational Wetland

Next, I learned about the Steese Road Education Wetland that the City of Green is creating in the Hightower Neighborhood. Here’s a picture I took of their informational board:

Steese Road Educational Wetland

Steese Road Educational Wetland

The wetland will be accessible by students to learn about various communities (places they have designed and will maintain year round) as they’ve highlighted in the map above:

Aquatic Community:

  • Lilies
  • American Burreed
  • Common Arrowhead
  • Sweet Flag

Emergent Wetland Community:

  • Pickerel Weed
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Swamp Rose Mallow
  • Water Plantain
  • Swamp Loosestrife

Sedge Meadow Community:

  • White Turtlehead
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Obedient Plant
  • Number of Sedges

Wet Meadow Community:

  • Monkey Flower
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Sneezeweed
  • Green-headed Coneflower
  • Queen of the Prairie
  • A variety of Asters

Mesic Meadow Community:

  • Native grasses
  • Sneezeweed
  • Blazing Star
  • Blue False Indigo
  • Mountain Mint
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Goldenrods

Upland Prairie Community:

  • Black-eyed Susans
  • Sunflowers
  • Begamot
  • Coneflowers
  • Various Native Grasses

That’s not all. There’s going to be:

  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Insects
  • Birds
  • Many other aquatic creatures
  • Colorful plants
  • Parking which provides access to the general public, a gazebo and signage!

Looking forward to this project to complete so I can take a few pictures when its nice and clear out!!! Not to mention that even adults that don’t know some of the names above, can actually reference them live in person at the site.

More information:

Ohio Lake Management Society

Next, I met up with friends from the Ohio Lake Management Society – Dana, Lynn and Ken.

I have been a participant of their water quality testing effort for a few years. Here’s a few pictures from their booth:

During this visit, I was able to video tape some material that I hope they can reuse and share with the general public and promote volunteer reports of water quality from all water bodies in North-East Ohio which they maintain on a website maintained by Kent State University.

I have to emphasize the work that volunteers do to maintain and consistently mail/fax/email results to this team. In fact, when I showed the local organizer of Code for America the data set, she got so impressed that she and I might work on getting some software written one day as part of a civic hacking effort, that adds value to citizens life. I’ll be blogging about this more when I have my thoughts refined. Until then, I can keep collecting data points for the team!

More information:

Dale Warren

If you’ve been reading the newspapers in or around Portage Lakes, you’ll be familiar with artist Dale Warren. He was kind enough to help out Coventry township promote water conservation. How?

Well he did something he does best: he painted a Rain Barrel.

Here are a few great photos I took of his work on display there:

Dale Warren - Barrel Painting

Dale Warren – Barrel Painting

Dale Warren - Barrel Painting

Dale Warren – Barrel Painting

Dale Warren - Barrel Painting

Dale Warren – Barrel Painting

Dale Warren - Barrel Painting

Dale Warren – Barrel Painting

Dale Warren - Barrel Painting

Dale Warren – Barrel Painting

Dale Warren - Barrel Painting

Dale Warren – Barrel Painting

Dale Warren - Barrel Painting

Dale Warren – Barrel Painting

Dale Warren - Barrel Painting

Dale Warren – Barrel Painting

Dale Warren - Barrel Painting

Dale Warren – Barrel Painting

Summit Soil and Water Conservation Districts Rain Barrels Program

Summit Soil and Water Conservation Districts Rain Barrels Program

Truly inspirational work!

I should tell the fine folks at Summit Art Space in downtown Akron about the rain barrels next time I visit them, lots of students can benefit from learning to paint on a curved surface like the barrels provide.

More Information:

Portage Lakes Purple Martin Association

I met Larry Hunter, and boy was it great to learn about this man’s accomplishment. It all started with a problem I learned – too many insects around the lake shore. Larry started researching and found that Purple Martin birds are well suited to eat the insects surrounding lake bodies. Soon, he got to work like Johnny Appleseed, providing Purple Martins a way to stay at the Portage Lakes as well as lay their eggs in the provided man-made nests (They’re actually called Gourd homes 🙂 ).

Gourd Home

Gourd Home

One of the most exciting things Larry let me know was that in the fall his organization allows citizens to witness 10,000  Purple Martins swirling around on the lake. Please visit their website I linked below for more information.

More Information:

Operation Orphan Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc.

I learned earlier that there were going to be a few animals at the event. My family joined me later to witness them in person. During our visit I learned about the Director of the Operation Orphan Wildlife Rehab Inc – Fran Kitchen. She provides for abandoned or injured animals not too far from where I live. I hope to visit her some day and dedicate a separate blog post for her non-profit. Here’s a few pictures I took of the animals she brought for the day:

Fran Kitchen and her Owl

Fran Kitchen and her Owl

Owl

Owl

Mountain Cat

Mountain Cat

More information:

A few other fantastic people I met during the visit I don’t know the names of, but as I meet them again, I’m sure I’ll be updating my blog post here.

In the meantime here’s a few more informational poster boards:

Nature Preserves on a Map

Nature Preserves on a Map

Rain garden and Native Plants

Rain garden and Native Plants

Looking forward to the event next year!

Thanks to the sponsors and the organizers of the event.

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