Reynoldsburg EcoLab Wetland Restoration
MAD Scientist Associates was retained to design an outdoor learning center, EcoLab, to be used for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning opportunities. When funding initially ran short, MAD stepped in to help the district write a competitive grant application and obtain funding through the Ohio EPA’s 319 grant program. The EcoLab Site is situated on six acres of previously-farmed land that abuts a high quality forested wetland. This existing wetland was investigated as a reference area to refine design elements for the Eco-Lab wetlands. The EcoLab’s key design elements will include 1.0 acre of shallow and deep emergent marsh, 1.2 acres of forested wetland complex (with vernal pools), 1.2 acres of wet meadow habitat, over 2 acres of native prairie/grassland buffer, a 0.3-acre pond, plus five small floodplain depression wetlands and a wider, improved riparian forested buffer along an existing stream. The project involved a hydrologic analysis of the site, and creation of grading, planting and seeding plans. MAD provided oversight during construction and collaborated with the school district to organize a massive volunteer effort to install 9,000 wetland plugs.
MAD has continued their involvement with the EcoLab via education programs, leading professional development classes for teachers, invasive species management, and supplemental plantings.