Wetland: Butterfly Weed

A couple more of flats of native plants for our in-progress wetland area arrived! The two flats of butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa L.)

With the help of Mad Scientist Associates, LLC the butterfly weed was quickly planted.

The soil was a bit hard, but the auger helped make planting a breeze!

Image of planting butterfly weed. Two individuals are on the ground planting the starts in the soil. The individual at the background of the image is using an auger to make holes for the plants.













A black flat of small green butterfly weed plants waiting to be planted in the wetland area. The tray of plants is sitting on the ground. A Mad Scientist Associates, LLC truck with three people standing in front of it. The truck is parked in the grassy area near our in progress wetland area.
















Posted in Wetland Project 2023

Wetland Planting: Earth Day

Saturday, April 22nd, we hosted a volunteer event to show love and gratitude toward Mother Earth. Wonderful volunteers joined us in planting native plants in and around our newly constructed wetland. Earth Day was a perfect day for the next step in our wetland & prairie creation project!

Volunteers from St. Charles School, Otterbein University, The Ohio State University, Ohio Dominican University, Gay for Good, and other Shepherd’s Corner friends helped plant 950 plugs of emergent marsh and prairie plants and 30 shrubs and upland buffer plants.

On Earth Day, we planted: Buttonbush, Black Chokecherry, Pussy Willow, Elderberry, and Blue False Indigo. Marsh & Common Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Bristly Sedge, Tussock Sedge, Purple Coneflower, Great Spikerush, Swamp Rose Mallow, Dense Blazing Star, Bergamot, Foxglove Penstemon, Obedient Plant, Pickerel Weed, Little Bluestem, Soft-Stem Bulrush, Cup Plant, Ohio Spiderwort, and Blue Vervain


Here are some images from the planting!





































































































An Earth Day Invitation
Our Mother Earth spends every moment of her existence providing for and loving us. Our most basic needs are met through the air, the fruits of the soil, the water, and the beauty. She bears life for us, heals us, and invites us into relationship with the divine and all created things.

It is right that out of reverence and gratitude we pause to listen and respond to the needs of Earth. What is she telling you? What is your response?

The creation of this wetland is an act of love for Earth. With your help, we work to turn these hay fields into a thriving, wonderfully productive, and biologically diverse ecosystem. An ecosystem that has amazing abilities to filter water, sequester carbon, refill groundwater stores, and provide a refuge for countless species throughout their life cycles.

Help us help Earth heal herself. Knowing her generosity, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you find something beautiful along the way.

Posted in Uncategorized, Wetland Project 2023

Seeding the Wetland

Here are some images from March 28th when a couple of folks from Mad Scientists Associates, LLC were able to come out and spread wildflower mix over the ground around the two wetland pools. This wildflower mix will serve as another layer of plants in the prairie area surrounding the wetlands pools. On April 22nd we plant to plant even more native plants and vegetation in our wetland area.


Image of vast wetland area: two people in the back ground of the image are spreading seeds. Image of vast wetland area: two people in the back ground of the image are spreading seeds. Image of vast wetland area: two people in the back ground of the image are spreading seeds. Part of one of the wetland pools is to the right side of this image.


We can’t wait for our 17th Annual Farm Fresh 5K to show off the progress of our wetland area. This year’s race will pass by our new wetland & prairie area! Join us on June 10th for this annual fun run/walk across the grounds at Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center. Register for this year’s race here!
Posted in Wetland Project 2023

Wetland Update

We finally hit the sweet spot of the ground around the wetland & prairie area being just right for tilling! Not too wet, not too dry, and not frozen. With the forecasted rain later this week we knew we had to act fast! Dustin was able to till around both wetland pools to prepare the soil for the next seeding.

Thank you so much for everyone who has supported by donating! It’s with your support that we are able to purchase the native wildflower and other native seed mixes that will be spread on the tilled ground in the next couple of weeks.

Below are a couple of pictures and short video clips of the tilling in progress!


Posted in Uncategorized, Wetland Project 2023

Distributing cover crop seeds

The wetland pools have now filled with water. Our next steps include seeding. With the help of students from St. Charles we were able to get started.

Looking at the deeper/larger wetland pool area. The pool is filled, and the water is frozen at the surface. The sky is blue with wispy white clouds and in the background, you can see the roofs of the houses in the development that border Shepherd's Corner.

Image is of the smaller in progress wetland area pools. The pool is filled with water, there is a frozen layer on top of the water. Against the blue-sky horizon, you can see the rooves of the bordering housing development.




















Here are some images of student volunteers from St. Charles spreading rye and oat seeds as a cover crop surrounding the wetland pools. The cover crop will help hold the soil in place.

One volunteer walks along the upturned ground spreading seeds with a hand spreader. The seeds are covering the ground between the woods and the larger pool of the new wetland area. In foreground two students distribute seeds on the small hill between the wetland pools. In the background, on the other side of the pool, there are two other students doing the same. Student volunteers distribute seeds as they walk along the shore of the larger wetland area.

















Posted in Uncategorized, Wetland Project 2023

Excavating the new wetland

Shepherd’s Corner is creating two emergent marsh wetlands on site. These wetland pools will have shallow edges that gradually deepen to an approximate depth of 3 feet in the north pool and 5 feet in the south. The images below are from December 2022, when the excavation of our new wetland & prairie area began. We have added text to give a little more information regarding the steps taken during the shaping and excavation process.









Posted in Uncategorized, Wetland Project 2023

Conceptual Plan for Shepherd’s Corner’s New Wetland Area


Top: map of shepherd's corner fields, woods, and barn. Close to the meditation trail, in the field there are two small ponds that are an example of what our wetland area will look like when it is finished.
Conceptual representation of the wetland & prairie area that we are in the process of creating at Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center.


The design will consider trail connectivity, safety, views and accessibility for public enjoyment and educational programming, drainage entering and exiting the wetland, and habitat quality. The planting plan will emphasize appropriate native wetland plants and upland buffer plants (specifically a prairie/grassland habitat with some tree planting – if additional funds are available – to create a visual separation between the wetland trail system and the adjacent hayfield and lake/lake house area). For the base project (wetland and prairie buffer), we have estimated costs for 10 container shrubs (swamp rose and buttonbush), ~950 plugs of emergent marsh and prairie plants, and seed mixes for upland meadow/prairie, sedge meadow, and pond edge applications. The specific plant palette will be adjusted during the plan development with input from Shepherd’s Corner staff.

-Project summarization, at the start of our wetland planning & development, from Mark Dilley (Chief Scientist at MAD Scientist Associates)
More on MAD Scientist Associates LLC and their work creating and revitalizing wetlands can be found here.


Posted in Uncategorized, Wetland Project 2023

We’re creating a wetland at Shepherd’s Corner!


Dear Shepherd’s Corner Supporter,

I’d like to ask you to partner with us to support a new conservation effort at Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center in Blacklick, OH. We are working to restore nearly three acres of agricultural land to a natural wetlands and prairie space. Please consider a contribution to help us to finish the wetland with plants to prevent erosion, attract wildlife, and provide new ways for visitors to learn about this fascinating ecosystem.

Thanks to a very generous anonymous gift and the amazing work of Mark Dilley, MAD Scientist Associates, LLC, Columbus, OH, we have been able to complete the wetland footprint. The ground has been dug by the construction crew, and God has blessed us with rain and snow to help fill the wetland. The space is already being visited by local wildlife – ducks and geese are stopping by to check everything out. What we need next is natural, native cover – seeds and rooted plants to help preserve the stability of the land and provide habitat for animals and waterfowl.

Before Ohio was settled, wetlands covered nearly one-fifth of the state. As population grew and our agricultural industry expanded, more than 90% of our precious wetland turned into farmland and housing developments. Today, more than 50% of species are listed as threatened or endangered in Ohio. Many need wetlands to live and thrive. As important, wetlands help filter and purify the water we drink.

The good news is that wetlands are a renewable resource. It is a blessing that we can use modern construction equipment to transform three acres of pasture and agricultural land into a large, wetlands space to enrich biodiversity and natural water filtration.

I hope you can join us in renewing the earth with a contribution to help us complete this new wetland area. You may send your donation to Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center or donate here.

Thank you for considering my request.  If you would like more information or to further discuss this opportunity, please call me at 614-866-4302.

Many blessings,
Sister Rose Ann Van Buren, OP
Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center

An ecological ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace

987 N. Waggoner Road, Blacklick, Ohio 43004
Phone (614) 866-4302  FAX (614) 866-4331




Drone shot of the process of the wetlands on the initial digging.Overhead shot taken from a drone of the two pools of the new wetland that we are in the process of creating the wetland. Ponds are beginning to fill with water. In the bacground of the picture you can see our barn and the developments that surround Shepherd's Corner.





















Support our wetland!





Posted in Uncategorized, Wetland Project 2023

Wetlands are important!


February 2nd is World Wetlands Day. Follow along with us as we work to create a new wetland area here at Shepherd’s Corner!

The infographic below shows just a few of the reasons why wetlands are so very important!

Help us in our wetland creation & restoration! You can donate towards our efforts here!





Consider supporting our wetland creation project:


Posted in Uncategorized, Wetland Project 2023

Learn about our existing wetlands

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. Rachel Carson Vernal Pool Vernal pools are typically small wetlands that are only flooded in the late winter through early summer. These temporary wetlands provide a safe place for amphibians to breed each spring. Amphibians that may make this newly restored area part of their life cycle include fairy shrimp, wood frogs and mole salamanders. Typical vegetation found in vernal pool areas are sedges, cardinal flower, marsh marigold, common buttonbush, swamp white oak, silver maple to name only a few. Walk across the boardwalk and get a close up view of a vernal pool. Come in the spring and in fall and see the difference in the habitat


Shepherd’s Corner: Wetlands and vernal pools

Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center is home to many ecosystems. Among which are woodlands, fields, forests, a riparian corridor, and wetland/vernal pool areas. Through the fields and woods low lying areas vernal pools, a type of wetland generally present in early spring through early summer, can be found. Wetlands are integral to the ecosystems that surround them as they help with flood control, filter water, and provide habitat for many creatures. One of these such areas is highlighted on out meditation trail. A small wetland area, created in a space that was once a vernal pool. Vernal pools are an important type of wetland as they provide space for macroinvertebrates and amphibians to reproduce.


Wetland/Vernal pool enhancement: 2012 – 2013

When the meditation trail was created the Resilience station was installed at a vernal pool. A vernal pool is a type of wetland that holds water during the spring. In 2012 Shepherd’s Corner received funding through WHIP (Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program), which was associated with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. This funding allowed Shepherd’s Corner to enhance the seasonal vernal pool. The following images show the transformation process of vernal pool to established wetland. A grant from The Green Fund (part of The Columbus Foundation) allowed for the completion of a boardwalk above the enhanced wetland, allowing visitors to get even closer to the wetland.


Grassy green area with a low muddy spot. This low muddy spot is a vernal pool.
Vernal pool as it existed before the wetland was created. (2012)
A bench sits on a platform, facing away from the vernal pool area.
Viewing platform for the vernal pool prior to the installation of the wetland. (2012)










Looking out from the platform in the previous picture toward soil exposed. This cleared area will be is where the wetland will be.
Vernal pool area as it was beginning to be cleared for the creation of the current wetland. (2012)
Individual on a bob cat, small digging device, digging a drainage trench in the exposed dirt.
Digging the overflow drainage for the wetland being constructed. (2012)










Square concrete opening in the dirt. This was the dirt that the bobcat in the previous picture was moving to crate a drainage path for wetland overflow. Most of picture is soil with the concrete drain as the subject.
Concrete drain that was placed as overflow for the wetland. (2012)
Over 12 4x4 wooden posts inserted into the ground. This is in the same area where the previous pictures are, the space that will be the wetland. These numerous posts will be the base for the walkway over the wetland.
Posts that will be the supports for the boardwalk over the wetland.






Wooden plank board walk, with handrails. This board walk is atop the area that will be the wetland that is covered in straw.
Completed wooden boardwalk over the wetland area.
Completed wooden boardwalk over the wetland that is now filled with water.
Boardwalk over the wetland area.













Wetland Renovation: Fall 2020 – Spring of 2021

Bradley Teynor, of Boy Scout troop 826, completed his Eagle Scout project at Shepherd’s Corner this spring. This project centered around our small on-site wetland/vernal pool area. It included the removal of non-native plants and the addition of some that are native. Plants removed included amur honeysuckle and autumn olive. Buttonbush, red Osier dogwood, arrowwood viburnum, tussock sedge, soft rush, cardinal flower, and great blue lobelia were among the native plants that were added to enhance the wetland area. Bradley and his volunteers also built four benches. These benches can be found on our meditation trail as resting spots. In addition to the benches Bradley’s project included the construction and installation of two bat houses. These bat houses can be seen at the Web of Life meditation trail station where one of the benches made by Bradley and his volunteers has also been placed.

Here is the wetland guide that Bradley created related to his project.


Rendering of the placement of plants in wetland renewal by the eagle award project.
Rendering of location of plants added by the Eagle Award project.


Two boy scouts working to bag invasive plants removed from the wetland area. They are working to fill a brown yard waste bag.
Invasive plants that were removed were bagged up.
Three bout scout troop members working to fill brown yard waste paper bags. One is opening a new bag while another individual stuffs invasive plants into a nearly full bag.
Bagging up the invasive honeysuckle & autumn olive plants as they were removed.









A hand saw, small clippers, and a hatchet that were used as implements to remove invasives.
Some of the tools used to remove honeysuckle & autumn olive.
Three boy scout troop members sitting on four new benches made for our meditation trail.
Benches made by Bradley & troop 826 for the meditation trail.







Three boy scout troop members placing the benches they have made on the meditation trail.
Bench, made as a part of Bradley’s Eagle Award Project, being placed at one of the stations on our meditation trail.




Four individuals, one in foreground holding a shovel. They are getting ready to plant native plants in the wetland area.
Native plants being added to the wetland area near the observation platform.
Three individuals standing in a field in foreground. In background, two tall, slim bat houses on posts.
Two bat houses were also placed in an open field near the wetland area.
Bradley, sitting on one of the four benches that were made as part of his Eagle Award project.




























Posted in Uncategorized, Wetland Project 2023