Students from Bryant & Stratton College and their families became environmental stewards planting 60 native trees and shrubs as well as native grasses at Harbor Brook on Saturday, June 8. The volunteer event was the sixth Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps event since its formation last year.
|Student volunteers plant native plants to help restore a diverse habitat at Harbor Brook.|
“I had lots of fun – my kids enjoyed planting and getting dirty. My daughter said it was the best day of her life,” said Marisol Jiminez, a student at Bryant & Stratton College.
|Volunteers plant native grasses at Harbor Brook.|
“The native plants will help re-establish habitat at Harbor Brook, once dominated by invasive species,” said Tony Eallonardo, Ph.D., project scientist at O’Brien & Gere. “By planting up to 18,000 native plants, re-establishing wetlands, and improving habitat, the project will improve the ecosystem and play a significant role in creating a productive, healthy Onondaga Lake watershed.”
The Conservation Corps seeks to inspire future stewards of Onondaga Lake and its watershed through a hands-on, experience-based program that offers citizens and organizations the opportunity to participate in activities that help restore and sustain Onondaga Lake and its value as an Important Bird Area.
Harbor Brook enters Onondaga Lake in the lake’s southwest corner. The volunteer efforts at Harbor Brook will contribute to the transformation of 2.5 acres of wetlands into a diverse new habitat for wildlife as well as support the creation of a Northern Pike spawning area. Contaminated material has been removed from Harbor Brook.
Volunteers also toured the Onondaga Lake Visitors Center to learn about the lake cleanup and the importance of improving wetlands in the Onondaga Lake watershed. Habitat expert Frank Moses, director of Montezuma Audubon Center, was on hand to talk about Onondaga Lake being designated an Important Bird Area and the importance of habitat for birds and wildlife.
By learning from experts and experiencing the Visitors Center, the environmental stewards discovered the intricate connections among the cleanup efforts, habitat improvements, and the protection of birds and wildlife.
Since the formation of the Conservation Corps in summer 2012, events have brought together hundreds of volunteers who have become environmental stewards and Corps members. Founding members of the Corps include the Montezuma Audubon Center, Onondaga Audubon Society, Parsons, O’Brien & Gere, and Honeywell.
Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps future activities include plantings at Nine Mile Creek, as well as building habitat structures for attracting animals and birds. Schools, community groups, local organizations, and individuals are welcome.
To learn more about the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps or participate in future activities, please contact Frank Moses at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315-365-3588.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, please visit www.lakecleanup.com.