Fairborn, B-W Greenway acquire 9 acres that may extend Garland Wetland Reserve

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

“Category 3″ wetland may be used for Fairborn High School land labs in the future.

Fairborn has acquired nine acres of wetland at the intersection of Garland Avenue and Commerce Center Boulevard.

Called Garland Reserve East, the property is located across the street from the existing Garland Wetland Reserve and is home to a wide variety of plant, animal and bird species, said Bob Jurick of Fairborn-based conservation nonprofit B-W Greenway.

The nine-acre wetland is part of the same vernal pool as Garland Reserve. Vernal pools are a type of wetland that is dry for a portion of the year, Jurick said. This means there are no fish, but the area hosts a variety of insects, lizards, many species of birds, as well as beavers and other mammals.

Over the last 25 years, B-W Greenway has acquired protections for 13 properties, or 332 acres, of natural habitats in Bath Twp. and the city of Fairborn. Across their entire jurisdiction, which extends into Clark County and other parts of Greene County, B-W Greenway has over 500 acres under conservation easements, conserving land for local wildlife.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Those places are not only becoming habitat, but are helping to propagate native plants and other species.

In a recent Adopt-a-Highway cleanup, Jurick said, he found native milkweed flowering along I-675, “nearly as tall as I was.”

“Seeds are spreading, they’re flourishing,” Jurick said. “You can do it for the animals, but you do it for the people. The air is cleaner, it’s providing more shade, more places for people to get out, places for children to get away from screens.”

Garland Reserve East is considered a “Category 3″ wetland, which in Ohio is considered to have a highly diverse range of wildlife species, including native or endangered species, and has high recreational value.

“Eventually we would like to have a boardwalk for people to enjoy it,” Jurick said. “It would allow high school students to do land lab work, or colleges like Wright State and Central State to do research there.”

The new Fairborn High School is currently under construction down the street, also on Commerce Center Boulevard. B-W Greenway plans to apply for more Clean Ohio funding for those park amenities, Jurick said.

B-W Greenway purchased the property from Oberer Realty Services through a Clean Ohio Grant, and signed a conservation easement with the city on Feb. 16.

A dedication for both Garland Wetlands is planned for May. For more information visit www.bwgreenway.org

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

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