Ahead of Earth Day, the Sierra Club is doing its part to help our environment.

They planted 200 trees today in a forest reserve within the city limits of Columbus. This particular land has historically been used as an illegal dump site. 

Back in March, volunteers went in and removed 1.5 tons of trash. Their focus now is to remove invasive plant species and plant beneficial trees, shrubs, and milkweed to support pollinators and wildlife. 

Elissa Yoder Mann, with the Sierra Club, said the more than 40 acres of land needs to be salvaged.

“This spot is really important because there are 42 acres of land and it’s been neglected for a very long time so I think it’s been abandoned for about 30 years,” said Yoder Mann. “So we’re trying to restore this land so it will support wildlife and pollinators and also support the community better and have a safe place for them to enjoy the outdoors.”

Nicole Tabit, a local student and clean water fellow, says she’s upset with the treatment of this land by some people in the community. 

“It’s hard to see all of this damage that’s been going on, on this property for so long.

 It was so big and beautiful at one time and it still has that potential but we need to get in there and clean it up. I love the progress we’ve been making but it keeps building up. Every time we come back there is more,” noted Tabit.

They are also seeing issues with people riding ATV’s through the forest and even over trees that have been previously planted.

Elissa says this is not only illegal but it’s causing the Sierra Club to redo a lot of work that has already been completed. Because of these issues, she says these planting events help propel the project forward but she knows they can’t finish alone.

“We’ve been working on this for a year and a half and we have quickly learned that it’s a large piece and we will need some serious funds to rehabilitate this space,’ said Yoder Mann.

For more information, visit the Sierra Club website.