Tuesday, May 4th, 2021
Officials consider native trees, plants
By Sydney Albert
ST. MARYS - City officials and a private citizen are exploring options for planting more native trees and plants in the city, which could help promote a healthy ecosystem.
Members of the city's parks and playgrounds committee, city council and Gregg Clark, supervisor of parks and urban forestry, discussed creating a habitat of native plants Monday at the suggestion of St. Marys resident Julie Metz.
Metz proposed the possible creation of an area where nonnative, invasive species would be removed and native species that help support biodiversity could be planted, taking inspiration from the writings of entomologist Douglas Tallamy and his grassroots initiative Homegrown National Park.
The initiative calls on regular citizens to help create new, healthy ecological networks by planting native plants, with the goal of having 20 million acres of native plants in the U.S.
Though still in the very early stages of planning, city officials showed interest in the idea and discussed different possible sites and partners for the project, including along U.S. 33 and by K.C. Geiger Park. Clark said he could investigate several locations and look into possible grant funding opportunities that could help pay for the plants.
Several area groups could be partners, or could coordinate with Metz on the project. The St. Marys Rotary Club reportedly is looking into creating a pollinator habitat, which could go hand in hand with planting native species. Pheasants Forever and the Greater Grand Lake Beekeepers Association also have programs that could help support the initiative by providing funding for plants and seeds.
Metz said she would look into asking different groups for funding assistance, and various city officials offered her potential leads and contacts in that regard.
No action was taken on the matter at the conclusion of the meeting Monday.