Shepherd's Corner Wetlands

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Shepherd’s Corner wetland restoration: 2022-2023 and beyond!

Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center is working on an exciting new project! You can follow along with the development of our wetland & restored prairie area at this See more about our new wetland!

Invasive removal in established wetlands.

In Fall of 2020 to Spring of 2021 Bradley, in pursuance of his Eagle Award, led a group of scouts who helped remove some invasive plants and established more native wetland plants in our vernal pool area. See more about their work here.

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. Learn more about the creation of our smaller vernal pool wetland here.


Wetland Project

Wetland Planting Day

On April 20th, the Saturday preceding Earth Day, we hosted our second annual planting day at our wetland area. With the help of forty-two volunteers, we planted 100 native trees and shrubs. We planted hoptree, roughleaf dogwood, American plum, winged (shining) sumac. Click here to see a short video about the planting. We were able to plant these native plants and shrubs with a grant from the Columbus Foundation’s Green Fund.


Observation Deck

In February we began construction of an observation deck in the wetland area. The deck is located on the edge of the wetland pool that is closest to the meditation trail entrance to the wetland area. This was built with the help of some of our wonderful volunteers! We truly appreciate our volunteers. Here are some pictures of the construction process.


Volunteer stands next to the framing of the new wetland deck. Two volunteers stand at the corners of the rectangle framing that will be our new wetland deck, They are helping to brace the corner posts of the platform.



An Earth Day Invitation

We are seeking volunteers to help us plant in our wetland area! On April 20th we are hosting an Earth Day planting day with a morning an afternoon option for volunteering.

You can learn more & sign up here!


Our wetland pools are beginning to take off! Creatures such as insects, macro invertebrates, and amphibians have found themselves at home in the wetland pools.

Recently a few flats of aquatic and emergent plants were planted in our wetland area. In efforts to help these plants become established, a thin filament was added between a couple different posts. In the pictures below, if you look closely, you can see the filament. This is to dissuade the geese from eating the plants that have been recently added.

Plants included in the most recent plantings were:
Bristly Sedge (Carex comosa)
Broadleaf Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)
Soft Rush (Juncus effusus)
Soft-stem Bulrush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani)
Woolgrass (Scripus cyperinus)



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.


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.

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.



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!


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.

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.


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.




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.

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












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!






Wetland Renovation: Fall 2020 to 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 location of plants added 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 plants as they were removed.
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 on the 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. 
Three individuals standing in a field in foreground. In background, two tall, slim bat houses on posts.
Bat houses after they had been 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.








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)

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





Shepherd's Corner

Our Vision:

Shepherd’s Ecology Center is positioning itself to be an Earth-centered leader in the Central Ohio community: teaching environmental education, offering reflective experiences on care of creation, and renewing the land while providing healthy, naturally grown produce.

Our Mission:

Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center invites others to join with us in experiencing the joys and responsibilities of caring for land, life, and spirit. Inspiring others to become shepherds of creation in their own corners of the world.