Roads to Cuyahoga Valley Initiative and the Environmental Landscape

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1. Running
Water Teacher Presentations

 

The summer institute began in a similar
fashion this morning to yesterday. Teacher participants presented their running water projects to one another. Connections were made between a fight over
water and change in Fairlawn and the Shaker Lakes recalling Monday’s Doan Brook
tour. Watershed areas in Fairlawn,
Hinckley, Rocky River, Parma, Green, Uniontown, Akron, and Kent were discussed
and related to the Doan Brook. Teacher
participants incorporated relevant vocabulary learned during the course of
these TAH workshops.

 

2. Tour
of the Cuyahoga River

 

Img_1074
Paul Alsenas, director of Cuyahoga County
Planning, and Allison Ball, special project coordinator for the same
department, led us on a day long multi-transportational tour of the Cuyahoga
River. We first travelled to Whisky
Island by bus and then walked to the, slightly, restored Coast Guard
station. The group then boarded the
vessel “The Holiday” and headed due south down “the crooked river.” Paul
provided commentary the duration of the boating trip. He pointed out local highlights such as bridges,
housing, industry, nature, and the history of the river’s development. Connections to the global market were made by
pointing out such companies as Essroc from France, Mittal Steel from India, and
Cargill from Italy who all do business next to the river. This was historicized by mentioning how the
Cuyahoga was used by Native Americans to trade as far south as the Gulf of
Mexico.

 

After ending the boat portion of the tour
at Mittal Steel’s loading dock, the group traversed other portions of the river
via bus again. The Cleveland neighborhood of Tremont and the steel valley left
us at the Canalway Visitor Center. There
the Metroparks provided us with a PowerPoint presentation of the newly acquired
West Creek Reservation. 

 Img_1024

A discussion on “place making” vs. “planning”
in regards to the constructed landscape was had on the bus ride to Mill Creek
Falls. Paul and Mark urged teacher
participants to think of the ways in which teachers are critical to this
paradigm shift in human relations to the natural world, particularly in cities
like Cleveland.

 

At Mills Creek Falls, part of the Garfield
Reservation, we had the opportunity to check out the newly developed 48 foot
falls, the tallest in the county. This
is a restored area that was largely unknown until approximately five years
ago. A representative of Slavic Village
Development Corporation joined the conversation here. The group took a chance to explore the area
and reflect on the effects of human interaction with the area.

 

The West Creek confluence with the Cuyahoga
River was visited next. Here the interconnectedness
of the river, the Metroparks, non-profits, industry, and county planning all
came to a head as a representative of a local West Creek preservation
organization chimed in. The tour was
concluded at Rosby Farm and Greenhouses along the eastern side of the river. Here, along with gardening and landscaping
supplies, Rosby services 65-85 trucks full of industrial and construction waste
for recycling purposes. Teachers were
treated to another educated representative of a portion of the river and its
history. We were also joined by a bald
eagle who upstaged our understanding host for a brief moment.

Img_1082

      

3.  Oral History Interview Logging

 

 

 Logging oral history interviews
after their completion is essential to connecting and indexing this project’s
on-going massive collection. Mark
provided the purpose and context of this activity       while Emily modeled an
appropriate logging. Yesterday’s
interview of Dave Vasarhelyi was used as an example and questions were fielded.

 

      4. Group Photo!

All photos by teacher participant John Bennet.