Although Bexley now stakes its claim as the first city to be an arboretum, Clintonville can still boast to being the first neighborhood in central Ohio to have one.
Spring will bring a busy time to the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum, president Mike McLaughlin said last week.
The nonprofit organization's calendar for April alone features tree plantings, bird-watching, guided tours, an Earth Day cleanup and a "BioBlitz."
Plantings to add to the trees already in the current boundaries of the arboretum -- bounded by Weber Road to the north, North High Street to the west, the railroad tracks to the east and Arcadia Street from North High to Indianola Avenue, then Hudson Street from Indianola to the railroad tracks to the south -- are scheduled for April 6, 13 and 21. These are mostly the work of those whose homes fall within the arboretum, the boundaries of which may be expanding.
"We get people in the neighborhood, but not people from all different parts of Clintonville," McLaughlin said.
Guided walks along the shorter of the arboretum's two trails are scheduled every Sunday during the month, beginning at 2 p.m. Participants should meet at the kiosk on East Weber Road. The Indianola walk takes 90 minutes to two hours, depending upon how much there is to comment on for the tour leader, according to the LOUA president.
The Glen Echo Bird Club has committed to take people on bird sighting expeditions the first Saturday of the month during migratory bird season, McLaughlin said.
The group, which goes on sighting walks lasting about an hour every Saturday morning starting at 8, meets at the Fourth Street entrance to Glen Echo Park, said John Finn, one of two founding members of the club.
"We need the sun behind our backs as we walk through," he said. "What we generally have been doing is collecting data to create checklists of birds within Glen Echo Park."
For the novice bird-watcher, the co-founder said, there can be a fascination with learning about the things that live around us, as well as in contemplating the beauty of birds.
"I think it becomes addictive," Finn added. "Once you do it a little bit, you get bird fever."
The Earth Day cleanup of the ravine, in conjunction with United Crestview Area Neighbors, is set for April 20, beginning at 9 a.m.
The "BioBlitz" is scheduled for the final Saturday in the month, April 27, beginning at 8 a.m. It will be led by Michael Graziano, a graduate student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State University.
"That is something new for us, as well," McLaughlin said.
In the event, volunteers work together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals and other organisms as possible.
Tables will be set up throughout the arboretum where specimens can be brought for identification, according to McLaughlin.
"It's fun for kids, fun for adults and fun for students," he said. "To help understand the path forward we need to understand what we have now and a BioBlitz gives us that information."
These events, the LOUA president added, are all part of the arboretum's expanding mission from simply preservation to education.
"In the beginning we were thinking of just this environmental, but over time with the walks and the kiosk, we realized that there was an educational component here," McLaughlin said. "It has become almost as important as the environmental component, and it's a great way to give back to the neighborhood and the community."