It was while bike down Ohio Street, checking out the Habitat Restoration Project at the Ohio Street (Small) Boat Launch, that I came across a new Natural Generation Area (NGA) on the east side of the street. The NGA was demarcated with staked signage that signaled passerby that the lad was inhabited with native plants and pollinators. Not only is this an incredibly important initiative, it’s also an aesthetically beautiful and informative one.
I didn’t want to disrupt the natural habitat, but at the same time I did want to venture into the space. So I found a disbanded rail line that ran alongside the NGA, bounded by Dead Creek, which was once a waterway into the industrial Ohio Basin (now filled in – Father Conway Park: rumor has it that the FLW Administration Building is buried there).
As I walked the rail line, I imagined that this is what it will be like one day, to walk the transformational DL&W Corridor. Within a few feet of Ohio Street, I was suddenly immersed into a monarch butterfly habitat – there were hundreds flying about everywhere I looked. They were perched on the thistles, and they were resting on the bare branches of the trees, where they appeared to be leaves on the branches. I had never seen anything like it, and it gave me a completely new appreciation of the importance of a secluded NGA… or even an undisturbed wooded area.
My biggest takeaway from this adventure, is the importance of having natural areas in areas of the city that continue to be developed. It’s also one of the reasons that the DL&W Corridor will require as many Maintained Meadow Areas (MMA) as possible. Without these special natural habitats, we will continue to see the eradication of bees, butterflies, and birds. Which is why it’s so great to see these instrumental naturalistic efforts underway.
We just need to make sure that the community is properly informed and educated about these initiatives. This is another type of preservation that goes hand-in-hand with architectural preservation. As Rick Smith from Silo City would say, “This is the important stuff.”
Thanks to the Pollinator Conservation Association for their inspiring vision and fortitude.