by Heather Lowe
The TSC was slammed by a powerful ice storm on February 12. The ice didn’t last long, but the impact was significant, leaving behind tree damage reminiscent of a hurricane. Luckily, there was no damage done to any of the buildings on the property. Since there was already a volunteer event scheduled for the Center on the weekend of March 1, the list of projects that was planned was quickly re-prioritized, with storm clean-up jumping to the top!
To say that the volunteers that came out did a great job that weekend would be a HUGE understatement. The staff at the Center was floored by the amount of work that got done in those two days. Not only was the storm damage completely cleaned up, the crew also was able to tackle several other projects that weekend.
The Columbus Zoo sent a van down that was fully loaded with tools and equipment including large chain saws. The team of four from Columbus included a plumber, carpenter, electrician and fence specialist. Their expertise was put to good use that weekend and they were able to not only help with storm repairs, but also were able to tackle much larger jobs. Those tasks included taking down two very large, damaged trees and replacing the electric fence around the entire perimeter of the property – using a total of 1.5 miles of electric wire! TSC staff had been in the process of receiving bids from local contractors for the fence improvement. We were floored when they took it on and knocked it out in just a matter of hours! All of their expenses were covered by the Columbus Zoo.
Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas, also showed their institutional support for the TSA by sending two of their keepers to help with the cleanup that weekend, covering all of their travel expenses. In total, 19 people came out for some portion of the weekend and all of them came to work! Everyone jumped in with both feet, dragging limbs and trees, burning wood, chipping wood into mulch, and accomplished cleaning up the entire area around the Center, the driveway, and the perimeter fence. TSA members Will and Jess McGuire (and their son Bryce) brought out their own chainsaws and took the lead on cutting and cleaning up much of the fallen and damaged trees and limbs.
We are incredibly thankful for everyone’s hard work at helping to get things back to normal after the storm, so that staff could continue to place 100% of their focus on the care of the collection that continues to grow at the Center.