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May Meeting: Green Corps Presentation at the CBG

It was a beautiful spring day when the Westlake Garden met at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. The meeting began at 11:30 a.m. For those who arrived early, it was a great time to take a short walk through the outdoor gardens. Although most of the tulips were finished blooming, there were daffodils and many other spring blooms to be enjoyed, including all the spring foliage. Following a short business meeting, a presentation was put on by Kelly Barrett, the director of Green Corps. Green Corps is an educational program in urban gardening for high school age students. To quote from their brochure, “. . . teens work at urban farms in Cleveland, learning job, leadership and life skills . . .”. Vacant lots are converted into urban farms producing fruits, vegetables and flowers which are later sold at weekly farm stands benefitting the local community. According to Ms. Barrett, many of the students who complete the four year program go on to higher learning and successful careers and most likely become gardeners for life. Kevin Brandstetter

April Program: Westlake Watershed Group

Wesley M. Davis, Engineer and head of the City of Westlake’s Watershed Group, addressed the WGC at its April 17 meeting.  Wes first reviewed past initiatives, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 and the Clean Water Act of 1972.  In 2003 the City initiated Stream Restoration Projects, beginning with a Board of Health study that determine the water in our creeks and streams was badly contaminated.  The City has six major creeks/watersheds (Cahoon, Porter, Schwartz, Sperry, Wischmeyer and Wolf) that flow into Lake Erie.  These creeks and their tributaries comprise over 100 miles of waterways that are fed by 150 miles of storm sewers.  They collect water run-off from parking lots, roadways, buildings and landscape areas.  During urbanization, riparian buffers have been removed allowing contaminants to flow freely into our streams.  Preventing debris, fertilizers, oils and chemicals from contaminating storm water and eventually reaching the lake is the goal of the City and the Watershed Group.

 

Wetland projects in the Southbridge Circle and Columbia Creek areas have been completed.  The Dover Ditch project started in 2017 created 20 acres of wetland preserve at Crocker and Center Ridge Roads.  This project will reduce flooding in the Cahoon Creek Watershed.   Wes showed us amazing slides of the “before” and “after” of this project.  Over 100,000 cu. yds. of soil and debris were hauled off this site.  The stream channel has been re‑established, three settling ponds have been added, and trees and other native flora added.  A walking path and viewing platform is available for visitors.

 

The City’s Engineering Department in conjunction with the Watershed Group also promotes sustainability by promoting the use of rain barrels, organic fertilizers, other GoGreen ideas, and by sponsoring an annual Rain and Garden Show held at Crocker Park, at which our members participate.  An ongoing project in conjunction with the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District, is reviewing for compliance all detention basins in the City, both public and privately owned, numbering over 350.  Grants have been applied for the Point West and Woodpath upcoming projects.

 

In sum, Wes’ presentation was very informative, and we are proud of the City of Westlake’s efforts to clean and restore our waterways.

 

 

Looking Ahead to 2019

The Westlake Garden Club enjoyed an active and successful 2018.  We provided interesting and educational programs for our members, were involved in civic projects within the City and surrounding communities, and hosted a very enjoyable biennial fundraiser luncheon.  We tried a new model for our Board last year, with more committees assuming responsibilities instead of indiviual members.  The Board will determine if that was successful.  Membership remained stable and we have already gained several new members for 2019. The Club takes a respite during January and February with normal schedule starting in March.  We look forward to another year of programs that will educate and inspire us.  A listing of programs will be available in March.  We, along with most clubs and civic organizations today, are faced with the challenge of maintaining and growing membership.  We welcome anyone who has an interest in gardening, horticulture, the environment, trees and nature in general, to join us for a meeting.  Meetings are the third Wednesday of each month, March through December and are at Westlake Porter Public Library, unless an outing or fieldtrip is planned. Visit this website frequently for more information and to keep up to date on our schedule.

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