Since water was first introduced to The Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park (ORWRP) in 1994, it has been a unique and special place where researchers, students, and the public have come together to learn about and appreciate wetland ecosystems. In the nearly 30 years since the first Director of the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park (ORWRP), Dr. William J. Mitsch, led the creation of the park, it has been host to thousands of students in courses ranging from wetland ecology to avian biology, hosted hundreds of undergraduate research projects, and produced a multitude of peer-reviewed studies in the natural sciences.
Our mission is to advance knowledge and stewardship of wetlands, riparian areas, and other native habitats through outreach, research, and education. As such, the ORWRP pursues basic and applied research at multiple levels of ecological organization from microbes to ecosystems to landscapes. The ORWRP is uniquely positioned to address complex questions related to coupled social-natural systems because of its urban location. The variety of habitats present at the park allow hands-on training for undergraduate and graduate students through coursework and research opportunities. Additionally, the site provides service to the community through environmental outreach and extension. Through these activities, the ORWRP plays an important role in developing solutions to pressing conservation and management issues.
A message from the ORWRP Chair, Dr. Chris Tonra:
There are Fall mornings at the ORWRP that I can stand on the trail along our oxbow wetland with the wind blowing through the cattails, muskrat fastidiously working on their mounds, and hundreds of blackbirds noisily departing their nighttime roost overhead and completely forget I am smack in the middle of the largest city in Ohio. There are so many unique things about this place, but all of them are amplified by the fact that you will be hard pressed to find an urban greenspace quite like it. It certainly has made it quite interesting and important in terms of research and conservation, but it is also why it is such a special place to our students and the public that visit the ORWRP at all times of year. We are only 52 acres, but you can really lose yourself here as you dive into the biodiversity all around you; from plants and insects to fish and frogs to birds and mammals, we have it all here, both in and around the water that sustains us. So, if you are a teacher or researcher, and want to bring your classes or projects here, please reach out. For others, if you haven’t come to visit us for a tour, an event, or just biked or walked over to “recharge” on your own, I hope you will find opportunities here to join us, and if you have, I hope you will return.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Send us an email using the contact information below.
Chris Tonra, PhD
Chair, Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park
Associate Professor, School of Environment and Natural Resources
Krystal Pocock, MS
Research and Outreach Coordinator
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