Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – A controlled burn on the Circleville City Schools campus this week is making way for an expanded outdoor education area for the district.
Under the supervision of the Circleville Fire Department, members of Deer Creek Pheasants Forever Chapter #545 burned off old thatch and grass in a section of the district property for dormant prairie seeding later this fall.
“We will seed it with native warm-season prairie grass probably in late November, and it will sprout in the spring,” said Chris Mullins, Pickaway County Engineer and member of Deer Creek Pheasants Forever. “The plan is an outdoor education area with a lot of flowers and native grasses on both sides of a boardwalk that already extends into the marsh.”
The group obtained EPA permits and fire department approval for the controlled burn and worked with Jonathan Davis, assistant superintendent for Circleville City Schools, to get school board approval for the project.
“They thought the seed would take better and look better if we could burn that off,” Davis said. “I approached the board last week at their meeting, and they were OK with it, so we reached out to the safety director and fire chief to get it done.”
Davis said several businesses and private donors have already contributed to the project that will create a unique outdoor educational environment for all 2,200 students in the district.
“Ideally, it will be an outdoor area where kids can go out and get their hands in the water, touch tadpoles and that kind of thing and be able to learn in that natural environment,” Davis said.
All funding for the project to date has come from donations and grants, Davis said, with no money coming out of the district’s general fund. He said they already have about $17,000 pledged in additional funding for future improvements of the area.
Mullins said Pheasants Forever likely will plant the dormant seed on a weekday in late November when students can join them and learn about the grasses and plants being added.
A date for that planting has not yet been determined.
More information on Deer Creek Pheasants Forever can be found on its website at www.deercreekpf.org.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal