Workers are preparing to celebrate Earth Day by beautifying Otterbein Lake in Westerville.

Workers are preparing to celebrate Earth Day by beautifying Otterbein Lake in Westerville.

Volunteers are needed to lend a hand with a variety of chores at the lake on April 26, according to steering committee chairwoman Linda Brownstein.

"This is an opportunity, if you like, to put on your old rubber boots or sneakers and plant some underwater plants along the shore," Brownstein said. "This is a good time for people to come out and take a look at the lake -- it's all been contoured and has a very graceful curve."

Brownstein said activities planned for Saturday include planting aquatic and land plants, seeding the lake banks, installing a goose barrier, removing invasive plants and finding rocks to place as borders. Volunteers will be at the lake from 9 a.m. to noon, and will meet at 9 at the lake, which is on the Alum Creek bikeway behind AmeriCheer, near Main Street and Collegeview.

Work on the lake began last spring, when crews pumped down the water level in order to recontour the lake bed. Since then, volunteers have worked to add walking paths through the woods on the east side of the lake, removed invasive plant species from the site and finished construction of an overlook. Railings for the overlook are currently being built, Brownstein said.

When finished, the Otterbein Lake project will include decks and a low boardwalk, an interpretive "green roof" shelter, walking paths, native vegetation and native wildlife and habitat, she said. A later phase will include a covered bridge across Alum Creek, upstream from the low dam by Alum Creek Park, providing for foot traffic, strollers and wheelchair access.

Other events planned in Westerville for Earth Day include Operation Greensweep, which will offer residents a chance to dispose of documents in a safe manner, according to information from Westerville's parks and recreation department. Fireproof shredding trucks will be on-site to dispose of household documents at Hoff Woods Park, 556 McCorkle Blvd., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is a five-box limit per household. For more information, call Laura Horton at (614) 901-6512.

Also as part of Celebrate Earth Day 2008, a cleanup and planting of bare-root trees will take place at the Westerville Sports Complex trail, 325 N. Cleveland Ave. The area along Alum Creek and the Ohio-to-Erie Trail that connects Westerville to Columbus will also be cleared of litter and debris. Volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Westerville Parks Maintenance Department, 370 Park Meadow Road, and are asked to wear sturdy shoes and old clothing.

lrice@thisweeknews.com