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Volunteers again take arboretum 'snapshot'

New maps are available as BioBlitz event nears

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Updated maps are now available for the two self-guided walks through the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum.

Trees planted last fall by members of the arboretum and volunteers meant new additions to the maps, which are available at a kiosk directly across the street from Indianola Informal K-8 School, 251 E. Weber Road. That's the gateway to the arboretum -- roughly bounded by Weber Road, North High Street, Arcadia Avenue and the railroad tracks -- established in May 2012 in an effort to restore trees and plants native to Ohio.

The walk along Indianola Avenue -- the shorter of the two -- now encompasses 34 trees identified in the maps, said arboretum President Mike McLaughlin. The longer walk through Glen Echo Ravine takes strollers past 51 types of trees, thanks to the fall plantings, he said.

Along with trees, arboretum volunteers planted more than 30 dogwoods along the paths last year. These should bloom by mid-May, McLaughlin said, adding to the visual appeal of a walk through the arboretum.

Just what effect these plantings and the removal of invasive species within the arboretum's boundaries are having on biological diversity is the subject of an ongoing study.

The second BioBlitz, which again will be led by Ohio State University graduate student Michael Graziano, is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 10.

Volunteers will fan out through the arboretum grounds, as they did April 27, 2013, to catalog the flora and fauna they find.

"Having a BioBlitz, getting that snapshot and learning what creatures are there and then cataloging it and monitoring whether native species are increasing or decreasing helps us tell what kind of impact us planting native trees is having," McLaughlin said.

The plan is to conduct additional events every spring.

Early indications are that the planting and other efforts are paying off, McLaughlin said.

Members of the Glen Echo Bird Club, who go on bird-watching outings almost every Saturday morning, report they are sighting new species of birds each time -- "which makes us think we have a positive impact," McLaughlin said.

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