348 Muskingum Drive vista@muskingumriver.org 740-374-4170

Young Engineering and Science Days

I had a great time with Washington County 7th graders at the Young Engineer and Scientist Days. I spent 2 days teaching groups of 7th graders about watersheds and our impact on bodies of water. I learned that you don’t give a pitcher of water to a 7th grader and tell them to make it rain without telling them to do it carefully and slowly. It results in being drenched and having wet feet the remainder of the day 😂.

We are raising some wonderful youth here in Washington County and I was happy to spend two days with them teaching them about watersheds. Hopefully I inspired some young conservationists and environmentalists!

This is just one of many youth education programs FLMR presents in an effort to educate the public on environmental issues. Please donate to ensure we can continue to do this important education outreach.

Marietta College Row Team River Clean-up

On October 6, 2018 FLMR hosted a Muskingum River Clean-up on our Land Trust property at Devol’s Dam.
The Marietta College  Women’s and Men’s row teams volunteered collecting nearly 60 bags of garbage and recyclable including: tires, a TV, a buoy, a play pool, and MANY plastic water bottles.
Recyclable materials were taken to the Marietta Area Recycling Center. Thank you all volunteers at Marietta Area Recycling for sorting and processing river clean-up recycling.
Also thank you to all the Marietta College students and staff who volunteered during this event. FLMR staff and members are looking forward to many more river clean-ups.
Witnessing so many people involved in an event that made a positive impact on our local environment and beyond was incredible. The human impact that garbage is creating is insurmountable, but the display of care for the environment October 6th shows that  it’s possible for humanity to overcome this problem.
Please look for information about our fall river clean-ups on muskingumriver.org.

Tree of Heaven

The invasive species, Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima, is native to South China and Australia. It is a rapidly growing deciduous tree that can be found nearly everywhere in North America where it is prolific, Luke Chute Conservation Area is no exception. First introduced in Philadelphia in 1784, it was frequently used as an urban tree in Washington DC and Baltimore and it has since spread (2018, Jackson)

  1. Size: max 80-100 feet
  2. Bark: The bark of tree-of-heaven is smooth and green when young, eventually turning light brown to gray, resembling the skin of a cantaloupe.
  3. Leaves: Pinnately compound, leaves come from a central stem with lance shaped leaflets on either side.
  4. Twigs: Alternate
  5. Seeds: Found on female trees only. Samara or wings 1-4 inches long.


  • Tree of Heaven can be male or female. One female tree can seed up to 300,000 clones.
  • It produces allelopathic chemicals to prevent other plants from growing near it.
  • Tree of Heaven will grow anywhere that isn’t shaded. Not typically found where canopy is dense.
  • Can look like: Walnut, Sumac, or Hickory (2018, Jackson)

Invasive plants easily grow in our native environment because our environment lacks the predators and pests that control the invasive plant in its natural environment; thereby, causing major disruption in our native ecosystem. Native plants lose ever diminishing real estate leading to a lack of biodiversity and habitat degradation. Invasive species also threaten endangered species. Around 42% of current endangered species are endangered due to invasive species (2016, Wisconsin DNR).

Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth. A healthy biodiversity provides several natural services for everyone:

  • Ecosystem services, such as
    • Protection of water resources
    • Soils formation and protection
    • Nutrient storage and recycling
    • Pollution breakdown and absorption
    • Contribution to climate stability
    • Maintenance of ecosystems
    • Recovery from unpredictable events
  • Biological resources, such as
    • Food
    • Medicinal resources and pharmaceutical drugs
    • Wood products
    • Ornamental plants
    • Breeding stocks, population reservoirs
    • Future resources
    • Diversity in genes, species and ecosystems
  • Social benefits, such as
    • Research, education and monitoring
    • Recreation and tourism
    • Cultural values (1998, Shah)

This Fall FLMR will be hosting Pollinator Habitat Workdays at the Luke Chute Conservation Area located 5 miles from the SR 266 and Route 60 junction. Five miles before Stockport, OH. We will be removing Tree of Heaven from 9AM-12PM on Sept. 22, Sept. 27, and Oct. 27th.

“We will mostly be dealing with small saplings in sandy soil, so we will mainly be pulling or digging them out. On larger trees we cut them down and paint the stump with an herbicide. We prefer not using herbicides, but tree of heaven will often send up multiple roots sprouts for years if you don’t kill the root system.  It’s possible to eventually kill the root system by continually cutting the root sprouts until you exhaust the reserves in the roots, but this isn’t always practical as it takes much more work and won’t be successful unless you are diligent”, Katy Lustofin, FLMR President and Professor of Biology at Marietta College.


Jackson, D. R. (2018). Tree of Heaven. https://extension.psu.edu/tree-of-heaven

Wisconsin DNR (2016). Why we should Care. https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/invasives/care.html

Shah, Anup (1998). Why is Biodiversity Important? Who Cares? http://www.globalissues.org/article/170/why-is-biodiversity-important-who-cares


Dana Island Workday





Dana Island is looking great after our workday this past weekend. All signs and our pond are now visible. Several willows were removed by our volunteers from the pond which were home to many ants.

Trails are also clear and ready for a nice stroll through the conservation area. Dana Island Conservation Area features easy trail for all ages. Bring the whole family. Below are directions.

We also had some drone video and photos taken by Tony Brown from Brown Owl Imaging. Look for those photos on our website coming soon! Also check out Brown Owl Imaging for drone and photography. He does great work.

From Route 60 in Waterford, cross the Muskingum River on 339. Turn left onto CR 4 (Waterford Road). After about 2 miles, turn left onto Culver Run Rd (Township Rd 145). The road will end in a T-intersection with Muskingum River Road; turn left at this intersection. After passing under the railroad tracks, turn right onto Pit Road (gravel). Dana Island Conservation Area is about 0.2 miles down Pit Road, on the left.

Muskingum River Sweep

On June 16, 2018 FLMR hosted a Muskingum River Sweep on our Land Trust property at Devol’s Dam.

Twelve volunteers gathered 25 large garbage bags of trash from three major piles of debris along the Muskingum River from 9AM-12PM.

Afterwards, volunteers enjoyed pizza donated by Smitty’s Pizza located on Front Street in Marietta Ohio.

Recyclable materials were taken to the Marietta Area Recycling Center.

It was heartwarming to witness so many people involved in an event that has such a major impact on our local environment and beyond. The human impact that garbage is creating is insurmountable and enough to overwhelm anyone, but the display of care for the environment I saw this weekend makes me feel that it’s possible for humanity to overcome this problem.

We took small steps towards a solution to the problem this weekend but we still made a difference and that is something that all the volunteers who partook in the river sweep should take pride in.

Please look for information on our fall river sweep on muskingumriver.org.