We are fortunate to have the immense benefits of abundant local water resources in central Ohio.
I particularly enjoy visiting Alum Creek in Delaware County, where I can find a place to get away from the hectic life for a while.
The calming and calming effects of water cannot be overlooked and lead to better physical and mental health.
Before I moved to Central Ohio for a West African transplant, I knew my way around and was always able to enjoy nature. Finding information about open and public beaches here in central Ohio was much more difficult until I started working on the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
In my role as the leader of water resources projects at MORPC, I have the privilege of understanding the physical landscape of the area and the opportunities for outdoor recreation. But then I stop thinking about the thousands of people who, like me, are relatively new to the area and wonder where to find information about nature.
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MORPC and our partners offer a variety of resources for those interested in learning more about how to safely access our water resources and ways to recreate, or how to establish clean water conservation practices. As a mother of one child who loves all water, I am constantly looking for clean beaches and outdoor water recreational areas.
MORPC’s Central Ohio Blueways Initiative, in partnership with local communities, park districts, and grassroots organizations, provides residents and visitors with information on where to safely and legally access water for paddle sports. After all, there is more than 160 miles of water to paddle along Alum Creek, Big Darby Creek, Big Walnut Creek, the Olentangy River, and the Scioto River in Delaware, Franklin, and Pickaway Counties.
Closely related to access to information is the lack of diversity in nature-based outdoor leisure activities, largely due to historical racial discrimination and a lack of access to recreational spaces. Together with its partners, MORPC works as an agency to remove these barriers through one program and one initiative after the other.
After a turbulent year, it is becoming more and more important for the public – young and old – to actively support the preservation and management of our water resources. By actively participating, the feeling of personal responsibility is cultivated and at the same time the immense advantages of these precious resources are used.
MORPC has organized and celebrated the Riverfest in recent years to improve the use of natural resources and to connect to local waterways through paddling opportunities.
The challenges of the pandemic led to the creation of Virtual Riverfest, and this year we celebrated Wellness and Water in partnership with the African American Male Wellness Agency. The aim of the Virtual River Festival was to promote the diversity of water recreation by allocating resources and connecting the points of access, water protection and health.
Our efforts resulted in the creation of a video highlighting the physical and mental health benefits of our waterways and a five-day social media campaign to protect our water resources.
At MORPC, we believe that participation and engagement are crucial elements of the sustainability agenda in the region and therefore we strive to provide available and accessible information necessary to create a just and inclusive region. To learn more about our work, visit morpc.org.
Dr. Edwina Teye is an Associate Planner with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. The purpose of MORPC is to bring together communities of all sizes and interests to collaborate on best practices and plan the future of the region.