DuPont awards grant to Friends of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Photo Provided Front from left holding the $10,000 check are Amy Mathews, DuPont engineer, and Kittie Clark. Also pictured are Dick Esker; Jason White; Emily Grafton; Rebecca Young, Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge (ORINWR) manager, and Matthew Bristol, ORINWR specialist. Esker, White, Grafton and Clark are members of Friends of ORINWR Board.

WILLIAMSTOWN — The DuPont Company has awarded a 2016 Clear Into The Future grant to the Friends of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

The Clear Into The Future program strives to “protect and improve the health and beauty of the natural environment, while encouraging environmentally sustainable, regional economic growth.”

The Friends are an independent, non-profit organization that supports the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge by promoting conservation, awareness and appreciation of the Refuge while also providing assistance through volunteer and educational programing, fundraising, and community involvement.

The $10,000 grant will be used by the Friends to construct a plant nursery by the Ohio River Islands NWR visitor center in Williamstown. The nursery will be used to propagate native trees and shrubs for habitat restoration projects on the refuge.

Friends and Refuge staff plan to begin construction of the nursery this spring.

The grant will also be used to purchase equipment necessary to broadcast native seeds in restoration sites that have been treated for Japanese Knotweed and other invasive plants.

“Using native seed mixes and planting native trees creates resilient, high quality habitat for both wildlife and people to enjoy,” said wildlife refuge specialist Matt Bristol.

Friends and Refuge staff will be enlisting help from area school groups and members of the community. These volunteers will have the opportunity to be involved in all stages of this project from collecting the seed to planting the trees on the refuge.

“We would like to thank DuPont for this generous grant and look forward to developing this nursery with our community to help restore the native habitat of the refuge,” said acting Friends President Emily Grafton. Through hands-on service to the land, the Friends hope to build connections between local communities, the refuge, and the larger landscape of the Ohio River Valley, she said.

On April 22, the refuge will be hosting an Earth Day event featuring tree planting and other activities for the whole family. For more information on the event or other projects, contact Bristol at 1-304-375-2923 ext. 123.

To become a member of the Friends group, stop by the Refuge Visitor Center at 3982 Waverly Road in Williamstown. Information also is available on Facebook @OhioRiverIslandsNWR and online at–river–islands.