Bowyer Farm is a special place to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Willed to the Zoo in 1995 so that it would remain an active green space in an ever encroaching suburbia, the farm has become an oasis for wildlife. Many natives such as deer, birds, insects, reptiles and soon, fish all find refuge on this 529 acre farm in Mason, Ohio.
Work on restoring Bowyer Farm to its original glory has been happening for years. Prairies have been reclaimed, woodlands reforested and now the historic wetlands that once washed over large areas of the farm are emerging again with the help of our amazing Family Community Service volunteers.
Wetlands are an integral part of the ecosystem at Bowyer and provide a plethora of environmental benefits. According to the EPA, “Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs.” Wetlands not only provide vital habitat for wildlife, including declining amphibian populations, they improve water quality, improve the productivity of the existing ecosystem and enhance the water supply. For more information on the importance of wetlands checkout this article put out by the National Park Service.
Volunteers spent a few hours on a chilly Sunday morning planting over 200 native species along the perimeter of one of the wetlands undergoing reconstruction. While we worked, Brian Jorg, the Zoos Native Plant Program Manager, painted the picture of the reclaimed wetland that will soon be providing habitat to many native species. We will even be constructing a small dock that can be utilized for volunteer recreational opportunities such as catch and release fishing. This reclaimed wetland will be a great tool to utilize in providing educational programming on the importance of wetlands and natives.
Interested in joining the Zoo’s Family Community Service Program? Sign up here!