By Gary Budzak
The first Northern Olentangy Watershed (NOW) Festival will take place June 21 at Mingo Park. Depending on the weather, it will be by the shelter houses or inside the gym.
“We’re trying to raise awareness on bettering the water quality through the Upper Olentangy Watershed,” Coordinator Kristin Piper told The Gazette. “In certain places, especially the southern portion, the water quality is exceptional. But there’s other portions that are very poor water quality.”
The festival will take place from noon to 3:30 p.m., but there might also be a fish shocking at 11 a.m. to evaluate what species are in the river.
“We’ll have a rep from Ohio Department of Natural Resources who will electroshock the fish with a very low current that stuns them enough you can catch them,” Piper said. After being checked, the fish “snap right out of it.”
Weather and water levels permitting, there will be ODNR representatives at the river so children can splash around, and a rubber duck race from the Panhandle Road bridge to Mingo.
Other kid’s activities will include a junkyard adventure, scavenger hunt with Delaware Soil and Water’s soil tunnel, bug-catching, and visiting with Corey the Army Corps of Engineers’ lifeboat and Preservation Parks mascots.
Adult activities will include a conservation competition, a demonstration on how plants filter pollutants from water, how to install a rain garden, a speaker on the history of the Watershed, a conservation award presentation and a raffle sale of publicly painted rain barrels.
Plenty of information will be on hand about drinking water, the Watershed’s annual cleanup event, invasive plant species, flood preparedness and the agricultural 4R program.
Several food vendors will be on hand, also.
Piper said the festival was made possible by a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for education and outreach.
Admission is free.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.