Although smaller than a penny, the emerald ash borer beetle wreaked havoc on Sylvania’s Harroun Community Park in 2010. As an invasive insect that is native to Asia, the beetle was first discovered in Michigan around 2002.
“It spread from Detroit, mostly hitchhiking its way down through firewood,” said Pat O’Brien, parks and forestry department superintendent. It causes destruction by infesting and killing ash trees.
Last week, a new educational sign was unveiled at Harroun Park, near the banks of the Ottawa River, detailing the issue. Designed by Northview High School students, it explains how 1,500 white ash trees were removed and how the park is responsible for helping to alleviate flooding downriver. The information, coupled with details about the local watershed, is aimed at educating residents about the area.
Although many of the trees were lost, Mr. O’Brien has hope for the future of the park. “One day, it’ll be a huge success story,” he said.
City forester Art Landseadel agreed. “They have planted some trees that will bring our forest back up to par.”
Three Northview seniors were responsible for creating the signage, which was a project that was done in the interactive media class of Tami Blue. The class teaches students photo-editing, computer illustration, video techniques, Web design, and more. In response to a senior project, Alexa Rickard, Darren Butler, and Vince DeBaca worked together to complete the sign.
As a fusion of design skills and environmental knowledge, Michelle Bogue, environmental science teacher at Northview, said the two go together well. “The things we covered in class helped him put the sign together,” Ms. Bogue said, speaking of one of the students.
Several community members gathered to watch the unveiling of the sign, including Sylvania Township trustee John Jennewine, Sylvania City Council President Mary Westphal, Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough, and representatives of the Sylvania School District and the Olander Park System.
Kari Gerwin, stormwater planner for the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG), said the signs were requested to fill a need for more information.
“I know that they did want to increase awareness across northwest Ohio,” she said. “They wanted to bring awareness to this area.”
The 26-acre park is also home to several invasive species, Mr. O’Brien said. Buckthorn and bush honeysuckle are two of the invasive plants that have taken over the land as foreign plants.