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Environment & Energy

A Rare Orchid Is Thriving in Clark County and Volunteers Want to Keep it That Way

A wet sedge meadow in Clark County where the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid blooms in June
Chris Welter
/
WYSO
A wet sedge meadow in Clark County where the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid blooms in June

Early last month in Clark County, just east of Dayton, volunteers helped state naturalists from the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves (DNAP) protect a federally endangered flower.

Ohio is home to a number of endangered plant species, including the rare eastern prairie fringed orchid.

The flower likes native grassy meadows, but most of those in Ohio were turned into farm fields over a century ago. But here, in a tiny wet sedge meadow surrounded by farm fields in Clark County, the orchid is thriving.

Volunteers from around the state took a sunny weekday morning to root out trees like dogwoods and willows that were threatening to shade out the little flower.

Jennifer Windus is on the board of the Ohio Natural Areas and Preserves Association, which organized the event.

“We're going around the state all the time and we feel like every place we go, we're putting this little Band-Aid on a gaping wound," she said, "but every little bit that we do, we're making a difference to save natural areas in Ohio.”

At the meadow, the volunteers cut the invasive plants back to the roots. Then, professional naturalists carefully painted the roots with an herbicide so the trees wouldn’t come back.

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.
Copyright 2020 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

Volunteers cut trees that are threatening to shade out the eastern prairie fringed orchid
Chris Welter / WYSO
/
Volunteers cut trees that are threatening to shade out the eastern prairie fringed orchid
Standing water at the wet sedge meadow in Clark County
Chris Welter / WYSO
/
Standing water at the wet sedge meadow in Clark County