Water. A vital resource necessary for the survival of humans, other animals and plants. However, only about 2.5% of the Earth’s water is freshwater, and only 1% of that is accessible to humans in the form of rivers, streams, and lakes. The Olentangy River is a 97 mile long tributary that runs through six counties: Richland, Crawford, Marion, Morrow Delaware, and Franklin. It eventually meets and joins the Scioto River in downtown Columbus. Because of its position on the watershed, the city of Worthington and its residents actively contribute, both positively and negatively, to the health of the watershed. Therefore, it is essential that responsible environmental decisions are practiced by the city’s residents.
Founded in 1997, Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) is a community education and outreach organization active in the Columbus community for the past twenty years. Their mission is to keep the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy by focusing on public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local decision-makers. FLOW is a member-based organization made up of hardworking and dedicated volunteers who care about the health of the Olentangy Watershed. They are active members of the community as well, working with local businesses and schools, such as Cranbrook Elementary School and Ohio State University.
As an education and outreach organization, volunteer events are an important part of FLOW’s programming, and are an opportunity for the public to get involved. FLOW facilitates river cleanups, removing trash and other waste from the Olentangy River and its tributaries to keep the river clean. Additionally, they frequently have programs to remove invasive honeysuckle plants from areas around the watershed, giving native Ohio plants room to grow. This also supports other native flora and fauna that calls the watershed its home.
Through their local partnerships and volunteer events, FLOW strives to be an active member and partner to the communities that sit on the watershed. Through FLOW’s work, they work tirelessly to create a culture of care for the Olentangy and its tributaries, and to create a community of responsible environmental stewards. To find out more FLOW, visit their website at olentangywatershed.org, or search “Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW)” on Facebook.