New Albany Middle School students and teachers worked Sept. 24 alongside students and professors from Columbus State Community College to create wetlands north of the new 1-8 building.

New Albany Middle School students and teachers worked Sept. 24 alongside students and professors from Columbus State Community College to create wetlands north of the new 1-8 building.

The wetlands will serve as a filtration system for stormwater runoff from new parking lots, said Bill Resch, the district's environmental consultant.

Crews worked to remove invasive species from the perimeter of the two-acre site that once was the Bob Talpas Baseball Field, which was moved west.

Resch said when the field was removed during construction, topsoil used to regrade the site included seeds from non-native Ohio species.

Invasive species found on the site included foxtail grass and curly dock, both of which, Resch said, would be replaced with native species, including: pin oaks, red oaks, swamp white oaks, tulip trees, buckeye trees and maples.

Materials were purchased using a $20,000 grant from the American Electric Power Foundation, said Jeff Bates, an environmental-science professor at Columbus State.

The professors were at the site Sept. 24 for a service-day program.

There are three outlets that will discharge storm water from parking lots into the new wetlands.

"Our attempt is to get every gallon of storm water from the 200-acre school campus site by creating wetlands," Resch said.

Alexander Roller-Knapp, a 21-year-old college senior from Columbus, said the wetlands would treat water by removing excess sediment before storm water hits local waterways.

Resch said the wetlands also would help cool the water before it is reintroduced into streams.

Columbus State environmental-science students Zack Farley, a 22-year-old senior from Pataskala, and Aris Neace, a 24-year-old sophomore from Canal Winchester, said they were happy to use what they learned in class in a real-world setting.

"It's nice to see the whole picture, from what we learn from models and talk about in class," Neace said.

Resch said students in the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools' environmental-science program, taught at New Albany High School, are testing stormwater runoff for baseline numbers.

He said they would continue monitoring samples to determine if the water is cleaned more thoroughly after running through the wetlands-filtration system.

Bates said volunteers are needed Oct. 10 for more work. Potential volunteers should contact Resch at resch.1@napls.us for more information.