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Volunteer group restores Lower Shaker Lake park's natural habitat

Posted at 2:30 PM, Sep 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-06 19:11:16-04

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Lower Lake Park in Shaker Heights is getting some much needed TLC thanks to Friends of Lower Lake, a group of local volunteers. Their goal to get rid of the weeds and restore the land to its natural beauty.

Friends of Lower Lake is a small but mighty group determined to improve the habitat around Lower Shaker Lake. They’ve already put in more than 1,000 hours of work this year removing invasive plant species and replacing them with ones native to northeast Ohio and they have plans to do much more.

The group started their efforts in 2018 after many noticed the overgrown invasive plants around the lake on walks with their dogs and families.

Co-chair Peggy Spaeth said in addition to being unsightly the invasive plants don’t do anything to attract or retain wildlife native to this area. So the group made up of 15 to 20 volunteers have dedicated their Sunday mornings to beautifying the park.

“We’ve put in more than 50 trees and shrubs and ferns and flowers and it's just really transformed the area,” Speath said.

While removing the weeds, the group also discovered the foundation of an old canoe club dating back to 1907 that now serves as the perfect vantage point to oversee the lake and the wildlife that has returned because of their hard work.

Spaeth said that’s why the group comes back week after week.

“Basically we're environmentalists. And as you know, our climate is in dire circumstances. And if all of us just took one piece of land, and said that we were responsible for that piece of land to make it healthy, then maybe we can start accumulating a healthy habitat,” Spaeth said.

The group will spend this fall planting hundreds of native trees and shrubs and they’re hoping other people, civic organizations, and city governments will join in the effort to begin transforming other public parks as well.

Friends of Lower Lake is always looking for volunteers. More information can be found here. Spaeth also encourages anyone interested to stop by the park at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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