St. Mary’s Medical Campus Is Awarded $5,000 By Ohio EPA

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Ironton in Bloom Inc. was awarded $5,000 by Ohio's Environmental Protection Agency for an environmental education grant.

The grant will help fund the native plant landscaping project conducted by St. Mary's Medical Campus in Lawrence County.

With the help from the grant, it will help enhance a walkway with a garden to demonstrate the benefits of native plants .

"The biggest thing at least for my concern is preserving native bio diversity. It's important that we preserve as many species

as  we can," said Eric Boyda, the project director of Ironton in Bloom Inc.

The project will take place in an area visible to residents and visitors of the medical facility with the help of potential volunteers.

"We hope to engage some local schools or other youth groups to  have an educational association to the event, but right now

that isn't planned yet," Boyda said.

The landscape will help people learn the positive relationship between native plant species and native pollinators and the negative

impacts of invasive species through videotaped workshops, signs and publications.

"The readily  available plants have potential to escape into natural ecosystems," Boyda said.

The Ohio Environmental Education Fund gives out approximately $1 million each year for environmental education projects.

"We fund applications or environmental education grants to three different audiences and that is the regulated community, general public and then pre-k to university level audience," said Dennis Clemente, a public information officer with the Ohio EPA.

There are two general categories: mini grants that fund projects lasting up to 12 months and costing between $500 and $5,000. The general grants reserve up to $50,000 for each project.

"The money comes from penalties, fines to infractions to the Clean Water and Clean Air Act," Clemente said.

Organizations interested in receiving similar funding must apply by July 16, 2012. An electronic letter of intent to apply is due on July 9, 2012.