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Volunteers beautify park at Mosquito



Published: Sun, September 27, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

For more information on making financial contributions or donating time to projects at Mosquito Creek Lake in Bazetta Township:

Call the resource manager’s office at (330) 637-1961.

For more information about National Public Lands Day, visit www.publiclandsda...

Source: Mosquito Creek Lake

By VIRGINIA ROSS SHANK

Volunteers cleaned trails and bird boxes and removed old benches.

BAZETTA — Henriette Ovaska and Danielle Myers packed the last bit of soil at the base of the first tree they planted near Mosquito Creek Lake.

The Poland girls, both 13 and pupils at Holy Family School, said they’re looking forward to seeing the apple tree again when they visit the lake. “It’s nice to know you can come back and look at something and say: ‘Hey, that’s my tree,’” Henriette said. “You can see how much it’s grown and know you helped do something really worthwhile. That’s pretty cool.”

The girls were among some 20 volunteers who donated their time and energy Saturday to several cleanup and beautification projects at the lake. The efforts were part of the first volunteer workday organized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Mosquito Creek for National Public Lands Day.

The National Education Environmental Foundation has been organizing National Public Lands Day workdays across the country for the past 17 years, explained Dianne Ruszkiewicz, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resource manager at Mosquito Creek.

“We wanted to do something here to get people involved and do what we can to make this the best place it can be,” Ruszkiewicz said. “This is a wonderful place for people to come, to seek quiet time and to relax and grow spiritually. We’re hoping to make it a positive experience for everyone and to make it as accessible to them as possible.”

She said her office, working in collaboration with the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District and the natural resources department of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Trumbull County, is hoping to organize local National Public Lands Days workdays annually.

“And we hope to do more than that,” she said. “We have a lot of goals, but we need help to get everything done.”

Dee Waters, district conservationist for the local USDA, said among other goals, organizers would like to see areas around the lake, especially the trails, more accessible to people with disabilities.

“We’re looking for help, especially donations, because we need help funding these projects and right now, we don’t have the finances,” she said. “We’re looking into state and federal funding options, but we would appreciate any help, any donations we could get.”

Meanwhile, Wendy Rabosky, 25, of Poland, helped a group of volunteers cover a pipe and ditch with dirt so a walkway can be built in the owl sanctuary near the lake.

A preschool teacher, Rabosky said she usually volunteers in activities her pupils can participate in. But Saturday’s project gave her a chance to spend time working on a volunteer project with her dad, Ron.

“I like to volunteer and do what I can,” she explained. “These are activities my dad enjoys, and I enjoy doing what I can with him. It makes it nice for us. I know it’s worthwhile and something that will make a difference.”

For three hours, volunteers focused on cleaning trails, removing old benches and installing new ones, cleaning out bird boxes, placing the culvert for the owl sanctuary trail and removing old trail markers.

Ongoing projects on the lands surrounding the lake include the development of the monarch- butterfly sanctuary, healing deck, meditation platform, healing gardens, handicap-accessible trail, native-flower sanctuary, osprey observation deck, endangered-plant trail and the owl sanctuary.

“It’s a work in progress,” Ruszkiewicz said. “And there’s plenty of work for everyone to do, and we appreciate all of it. We have a wonderful place here that will just keep getting better and better the more work that we put into it. It’s really something to look forward to.”


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