Green Team travels to Edge of Appalachia

The Green Team traveled to Edge of Appalachia Preserve for three days of camping, trail work, and creek time! This annual trip is possible because of our incredible partnership with Ohio Nature Conservancy. While there, they worked to install punch-ins, or small boardwalks, on Buzzardroost Rock Trail to help keep visitors out of the mud in wet areas. This included measuring, cutting, and carrying in all of the lumber about a quarter way up the trail (which was no small task, with each person taking an average five trips with lumber!). Working together, the group built two long sections of punch-ins and learned how to customize them to better fit the trail. We celebrated a very productive workday by visiting the local Amish market afterward for some sweet treats! The final day was spent kayaking as a group down the Ohio Brush Creek. The group also enjoyed plenty of downtime, swimming in the creek, playing games, and hanging out in their tents. Thank you to all who make this trip possible! We are already looking forward to next year!

Mussels Return to the Mill Creek!

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Last fall, freshwater mussels were reintroduced to the Mill Creek at two locations. These were the first mussels in Mill Creek for over 100 years.....we thought. At our first ever Mill Creek BioBlitz at Salway Park on June 1, a volunteer found a mussel shell at the upstream riffle we installed in 2018. The mussel has now been positively identified: it is a recent shell of a female fatmucket, also known as a yellow mucket. Although the species is widespread in the state, this is the first record of this species in the Mill Creek. It means it is quite likely that there are other mussels in the stream, at least below Salway. Larval mussels (glochidia) spread by attaching to the gills of fish, then later dropping off. By opening up more of the stream to fish migration, it’s open for mussel migration also.

The First Ever Mill Creek BioBlitz!

Thank you to everyone who made the first ever BioBlitz on the Mill Creek a great success! We cataloged over 100 different aquatic and terrestrial species, including macroinvertebrate indicators of good water quality like crayfish and caddisflies. This whole event would not have been possible without our amazing partners at Midwest Biodiversity Institute, Patagonia, Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, Mill Creek Yacht Club, Benchmark Outdoor Outfitters, Buckeye United Fly Fishers, Nature Conservancy in Ohio, US Fish and Wildlife, Cincinnati Museum Center and many more! If you would like to see all the different species we found, please check out iNaturalist.org (under projects search for, "BioBlitz on the Mill Creek") as we used this awesome app (as well as pen and paper, those results will follow shortly) to log all of our findings! It was truly reaffirming to all the work we do to see the communities surrounding Mill Creek interacting with all the life blossoming on its banks! Thank you again! 

Mill Creek Alliance Receives 2019 Phyllis W. Smale Award!

Mill Creek Alliance is honored to be the 2019 recipient of the Cincinnati Parks Foundation’s Phyllis W. Smale Award! This award is given to an organization or individual who has gone above and beyond in greening and beautifying Cincinnati. Cincinnati Parks Foundation’s press release states, “This year, the Phyllis W. Smale Award will be presented to the Mill Creek Alliance, in recognition of the organization’s creative collaboration within the community in order to continue to transform the Mill Creek into a healthy ecosystem along which people can live, work and play.”

Proctor and Gamble is the presenting sponsor at the Park Foundation’s May 10th Hat’s Off Luncheon, where Mill Creek Alliance will be presented with the award. We are extremely proud of our partnerships with Cincinnati Park Board, Cincinnati Parks Foundation, and the Smale Foundation, and thank them for this recognition of our work! Find out more about the award and the event at Cincinnati Parks Foundation’s website. You can also read an article about the event and the award from Venue Magazine here.

Mill Creek Yacht Club and Volunteers Restore Mill Creek Streambank!

The Mill Creek Yacht club led a group of volunteers on a live staking restoration outing along the creek in Sharonville, Evendale, and Reading this weekend!

A group of 23 volunteers gathered Saturday morning at Twin Creek Preserve, including an awesome group of GE Aviation young professionals! Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District's Stream Specialist, Adam Lehman, provided the tools and live stakes and taught the group about the technique of using willow tree live stakes, which root readily in the moist streambank, to prevent erosion Tom Boeing of Ohio Valley Forestry Fellowship brought along bare root trees and demonstrated the planting technique.

Then the group split up, some working on planting at Twin Creek preserve, and some venturing down the creek via canoe, taking out at various locations, including Evendale Commons, to pound in the live stakes and plant bare root trees and wildflowers. The group had worked up a serious appetite by the time they took out at Koenig Park around 4pm so some fueled up at the The Pike Bar and Grill (also a supporter of Mill Creek Alliance!).

Thank you to all partners and volunteers who came out to help restore the Mill Creek's streambank!! We're excited to monitor these plantings in years to come!

The Mill Creek Yacht Club is supported by REI.

Green Team Visits Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge

The Green Team travelled to Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge over spring break for two days of team building, work, and play. This annual trip is truly a highlight of our year and is only possible thanks to Mill Creek Alliance's support from NFWF and an anonymous donor and our strong partnership with the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service as part of Groundwork USA.

After arriving at the refuge on Tuesday, the team watched an introductory video that shared the importance of this almost 8000-acre preserved and restored wetland area to migrating and nesting birds. After settling into their bunkhouse they ventured out with Refuge Specialist, Shane Baxter, to check out the refuge's complex managed dam system that allows for control of water levels for the health of plants and wildlife. Along the way they spotted a bald eagle's nest plus lots of coots and buffleheads passing through on their way north. After a hike on the Richart Lake Trail they settled into their bunk to make dinner and play some team building games.

The next day the Green Team got to work! They split up to work with Refuge Manager Alejandro Galvan on planting native forbs in a recently-burned field (the same field in which the Green Team planted native grasses last year!) and build a bridge over a small stream on a trail with Shane. They learned to use impact drivers, levels, and hammers, as well as communicate effectively with each other to frame out the bridge, lay the decking, and construct the sides. Just as the team was wrapping up for the day a jogger came running across the brand-new bridge! They enjoyed a delicious "Indiana pitch-in" (potluck) lunch with the refuge's Friends group, who has generously supported MCA visits in previous years.

After work, the team went kayaking (in awesome inflatable kayaks, thanks to REI) and spotted a beaver dam, cormorants, and tree swallows. After dinner and s'mores by the fire, the night concluded with a star gazing hike, where Green Teamers searched for their own signs of the zodiac using SkyView - Explore the Universe. They experienced the contrast of human development and the natural setting of the refuge, where the sounds of spring peepers mix with the noise of interstate 65 and the clear, starry sky fades away into the lights of Seymour, Indiana.

Before heading home on Thursday, everyone pitched in to clean up the bunk, then put the finishing touches on the trail bridge. A stop at the visitor's center concluded two incredible days of hard work, camaraderie, and plenty of fun and laughs. Mill Creek Alliance looks forward to growing our partnership with the Refuge and with U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service in the coming years! Support for the Green Team is also provided by Greater Cincinnati Foundation and City Of Cincinnati Government Youth 2 Work. A big shout out to Adventure Crew for connecting us with so many of our Green Team youth over the years, as well as Villedge!

Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge is open to the public and is a day trip from Cincinnati if you would like to plan a visit!

Mill Creek Alliance Green Corps Featured in Cincinnati City Beat!

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The Mill Creek Alliance Green Corps is featured in Cincinnati CityBeat! Check out the corps members talk about their experiences and the restoration work they're doing all over Cincinnati! A special thanks to collaborators and supporters Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (who some Green Corps are attending), MCURC, Cincinnati Parks, Turner Farm, Little Duck Creek Trail, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Green Umbrella, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and Cincinnati Recreation Commission for being part of the work featured in this article!

Access the article here.

Welcome, Micah Johnson, Green Corps Manager!

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We are thrilled to welcome Micah Johnson as our new Mill Creek Alliance Green Corps Manager! Micah comes to us with a wealth of experience in ecological restoration work. He has trained with NKU's Center for Environmental Restoration and helped lead the Green Corps at the Licking River Greenway restoration site for the past year. Micah has extensive experience in stream and watershed restoration, wetland management, invasive species control, surveying, and trail maintenance. He also has a wide range of valuable machine operation, maintenance, and carpentry skills, all of which will serve the growing Green Corps. Micah holds a BA in Geology and Environmental Science from NKU. He will be leading the Green Corps in the field on their full range of restoration projects and working to secure and manage contracts. He will also be leading the team as they continue the Northside Composts and Light Up Avondale projects. We are so excited to have Micah join our team!