Making Nature Your Neighbor

We are all together in getting through these tumultuous times. It has become imperative to connect and experience Nature both physically and virtually. Throughout Northeast Ohio, there are gems to enjoy that are “low risk”, can help you get that breath of fresh air you deserve, and connect you to the natural world in which we live. Join us as we continue our journey to explore sites throughout our region and get our weekly West Creek Wednesday: Nature Fix! Together, we’ll explore some well-known trails and hidden gems we think you’ll be excited to learn more about.

The Tour: Spring Hill Nursery

Location: West Creek Watershed, Seven Hills

For this week’s installment of hidden gems throughout Northeast Ohio, we visited our very own Spring Hill Nursery located just off of the Seven Hills Hike and Bike Trail on Hillside Road.  The native plant nursery was started 5 years ago by Terry Greathouse, Tri-C professor and biologist who has been helping restore greenspaces in the greater Cleveland area for years.  He was instrumental to the restoration of the area now known as West Creek Reservation, and even has a wetland there named after him!  Terry, along with other WCC volunteers, have been working diligently on the 10- acre property and native plant nursery, restoring the forest and stream and growing over 50 different species of native plants from seed.  All the plants grown at the nursery are then used on Conservancy properties throughout Northeast Ohio.

Summer is the best time to tour the nursery since many of the plants are in full bloom and they are HUGE from all the rainfall in May and June.  As I walked around the nursery, I couldn’t help but feel relaxed.  I was surrounded by hundreds of native plants, insects, and some birds feeding off of the seeds nearby.  Towards the back of the nursery, there is an adorable beehive box, new to the nursery this year!  The bees have been very happy with their new home and all the native plants surrounding them.  I then walked to the forest behind the nursery to see all the restoration work being done.  Terry and volunteers have been cutting back grape vines, so they do not suppress the native trees and canopy.  Volunteers have also been spreading composted wood chips and recycled leaves (yes, Terry uses leftover fall leaves from neighboring yards!) to restore the forest floor.  Ramps, mayapples, ferns, and other native plants were planted in the newly restored soil to add some understory vegetation to the site and help the banks of the stream from eroding.  Later this year, Terry plans to dig out a small area in the stream to create a pool for frogs and other native species to live and breed.

The goal for the native nursery is to grow plants to reforest as many areas as possible in the greater Cleveland area.  The nursery is all volunteer run and WCC holds many volunteer (corporate and community based) events each year as well as regular volunteers like Terry, Emma Lee, and Kent giving their time each week to help maintain the plants.  The nursery gets some of its funding through donations for native plants grown there.  Terry and others also go out to nearby WCC members homes to recommend native plants for beds and rain gardens.  If you are interested in this service, some native plants from the nursery, or volunteering at the nursery, please contact Emily, West Creek Conservancy’s Stewardship & Outreach Manager, at [email protected].

Conservation Work

West Creek Conservancy and the Spring family worked together to forever preserve these 10 acres in Seven Hills.  Emma Lee Spring, the owner of the property and member & volunteer of WCC, and her family were approached by developers back in 2002.  Her family didn’t want the land and the historic home added to the nearby development so when our Executive Director, Derek Schafer, approached them about conserving part of the land for a future trail, Emma Lee jumped on the opportunity and suggested adding a conservation easement to the entire property.

Join us weekly for your Nature Fix as we tour properties throughout the region and extend the work of West Creek Conservancy onto your devices.

Spring Hill Nursery: Our Hike: