Ward Hollow Wetland
Marianne Szul with Dow Chemical, explains how this wetland came to be. "This used to be a waste impoundment until the early '70's, we used it for fly ash from the power house, sludge from the waste treatment plant. In the early '70's, we closed it, covered it with 6 feet of clay, and for a long time we used it for softball fields, archery range, things like that. It was open to our employees. In 2005, we stopped using it as a ball field and started using it as a wildlife habitat."
But wildlife is only half the story here. School groups can come out here and check out cattails and sword grass, and if they look close enough, and are patient, they're likely see some wild turkey walking around. And walking around is exactly what these kids from St. Albans spent the day doing at the 10 acre plot.
"Different classes of kids have done different activities. Some identify different parts of a wetland, some have done water and soil samples, looking at and identifying plants and animals in the area. The kids are loving it, I think we've had smiling faces leave every time. it's been wet, cold, but the kids seem to be having a really good time with it." says Szul.
This is literally an interactive science lab, filled with experiments kids can do right on the spot. The habitat has been such a hit, Dow is looking to open it up to others who might want to check it out.
"We've been giving it mostly to Kanawha County schools, so we've been working with teachers and administrators to get the groups out here. We do have some community members who are part of our steering team, so they can bring some groups like the West Virginia Master Naturalists have spent time out here so basically they can contact one of us." says Szul.
You can reach Marianne by calling Dow.
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