Paying it forward: Volunteer divides her time to help environment

What Becky Wright does, she does for the environment.

Wright attributes her concern for environmental issues to Marilyn Ortt, a member of the Marietta Tree Commission and Friends of the Lower Muskingum. Plus, being a birder for about 15 years has brought her closer to nature.

“I would be so proud if that were the case,” Ortt said. “She is a very dedicated person, and she works very hard.”

In fact, she is so committed to the environment, she supports environmental organizations, drives a hybrid car and has solar panels on her Colegate Drive home.

“It has made me more aware of the environmental issues I am now working on, including the need to consider using native plants in our gardens,” Wright said. “Recycle. Reuse. Reduce your (carbon) footprint. Save some of our forests and lands. Some have been deeded to the Muskingum River Conservancy. They will never be developed.”

Wright said she is concerned about three areas: overpopulation, climate change and habitat destruction.

“We have actually erased 95 percent of the native forests and grasslands since the pioneers landed,” Wright said. “Here, it’s making a huge impact on the insect and creature population.”

Wright divides her volunteer time among three locations: the Kroger Wetlands, the gardens at Indian Acres Park and the Marietta Area Recycling Center on Gilman Avenue.

“Native plants are much more natural,” Wright said. “The meadow (at the Kroger Wetlands) is surrounded by seedheads. … It attracts many species of insect, which is one of the goals.”

The public gardens demonstrate how native plants do well in the home garden, Wright said. Native plants use less water, don’t need to be fertilized and are fun to work with.

Wright said the volunteers who work at the Indians Acres gardens and the Kroger Wetlands like to see butterflies, larva of many different insects and pollinators, such as bees.

“There is a whole range of flies, many other flies than just the housefly,” Wright said.

Wright encourages more people from the community to volunteer either at the recycling center, at the Kroger Wetlands or at the gardens at Indian Areas.

“I would very much appreciate anyone who volunteers to mow or weed-eat,” she said. “That would be helpful. I know a lot of people walk there. People are aware of what we have there. We like to keep the poison ivy and the briers out of the paths. We like to keep it as comfortable and pleasant as possible.”

The group of volunteers at the recycling center is a small group of elderly people, she said. They could use more hands to help sort glass by color, stack cardboard and sort plastics.

“We always need more volunteers,” Ortt said. “It’s a good opportunity to get to meet the best people in town because they are the ones who recycle.”

Also, people who can weed the beds at Indian Acres are needed, Wright said.

“A lot of people really appreciate (the efforts),” Wright said. “It is necessary for community members to improve their community. Who else is going to do it?”