GREENVILLE — During a recent Darke County Park District Meeting, Director Roger Van Frank announced the arrival of a Screech Owl to inhabit the newly constructed Raptor mew.
In falconry, a mew is a birdhouse designed to house one or more birds of prey. The new owl lives with Greta, a blind Great horned owl, who has been living at the center for about four years. In order to accommodate the bird, preparation included the purchase of supplies, such as smaller thinner gloves, and training.
“It had a broken wing,” Van Frank said. “It is not completely non-flighted, but it is not strong enough to make it in the wild. We have the federal permits for it, and the veterinarian has released it from his care.”
In addition, cameras are installed to be able to watch the birds from in and outside of the Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center. Cameras are also installed at the Ohio Street property, newly named the Bish Discovery Center, in Greenville. In addition to computers, the property can also be watched from a phone app.
“The Greenville City Police have also been keeping an eye on the property,” Van Frank said.
In other news, the Park District received an $8,000 grant from a RAB Lighting Impact Grant, for a Community Garden project.
RAB is an LED lighting manufacturer, headquartered in New Jersey. According to RAB Channel Marketing Manager Maral Devian, RAB decided to partner with its distributors throughout the country. The Impact Grant will be used to help Friends of the Parks of Darke County create an educational Community Garden space. This will serve as an outdoor learning space, where children will learn about sustainable gardening practices, composting, and water collection through rain barrels, according to a RAB press release.
“We initiated this program, last year, to have our distributors submit and nominate a non-profit of choice for this program,” Devian said. “Our grant committee looked at all 19 applicants, and awarded 19 grants; everybody got something. The company wants to partner with our customers, in Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives, to help the communities along with our partners. There will be new awards for 2018.”
RAB’s distributor Dickman Supply, of Greenville, nominated the Darke County Park District for the grant. Dickman Supply is an industrial and electrical product solutions company.
“We are happy to partner with RAB Lighting and support the Darke County Parks to make our community a better, more educated and happier place.” Dickman Supply sponsor Torri Brown said, in a press release.
In addition, RAB will supply volunteers for the Community Garden project, according to Darke County Park District Administrative Assistant Deb Shiverdecker. The gardening project is in the planning stages, but will take place at the Bish Discovery Center property. The money will go towards many aspects of the garden project, Shiverdecker said.
“I am really excited with what we are planning for that,” Van Frank said.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources granted the Park District $4,300 through the NatureWorks Grant to obtain 20 benches, Shiverdecker said. The district has received three of the benches.
“Those will come through a program with the Darke County Solid Waste District’s partners, over the next two years,” she said.
The Tecumseh Trail is rolling along. The District is looking to have phases five and six completed by late fall, according to Van Frank.
“This will take us all the way out to the corporation limit for the city of Greenville,” he said.
In an education report, Darke County Park District Naturalist Mandy Martin taught 2,111 students in 2017, bringing her numbers up 10 percent, Van Frank said.
“We already have requests for spring,” he said.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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