Toledo Zoo Installs Wild Prairie At Toledo Clinic Cancer Center

Members of The Toledo Clinic, the Toledo Zoo and Maumee city officials (from left) Ashley Slawinski, Kendra Doriot, Margo Puffenberger, Jeff Sailer, John Stout, Mayor Rich Carr, Scott Noonan and Denise Bauman cut the ribbon, officially opening the prairie located on The Toledo Clinic Cancer Center’s grounds at 1200 Medical Center Pkwy. in Maumee. MIRROR PHOTO BY KRISTI FISH

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — At the end of National Cancer Survivor Month, local organizations and businesses gathered to celebrate survivors and opened a new wild prairie.

The Toledo Zoo helped with the installation of the native prairie on The Toledo Clinic Cancer Center grounds at 1200 Medical Center Pkwy. in Maumee, which was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 27.

According to The Toledo Clinic executive director John Stout, the event celebrated the clinic’s many partnerships within and around the city of Maumee, including the zoo.

“This has taken a lot of work from so many organizations to put this together, and we wanted to highlight the partnerships that helped put this together. Nobody could have done this by themselves,” Stout said.

Participating in the event was the city of Maumee, Maumee Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Con-nection of Northwest Ohio and several other local organizations.

“The fact that we all came together for one common goal, and that is to celebrate the cancer survivors, is amazing,” said Jean Pascoe, the founder and president of Cancer Connection.

A cancer survivors’ picnic was held in the evening, with vendors offering information on local organizations and food trucks offering a variety of foods for attendees.

“We always try to do something in June to celebrate the survivors because that’s a big deal,” Pascoe explained. “We want the community and especially the survivors to know we’re here for you and we have your back.”

At Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio, the organization provides free services, including attending doctors’ appointments with patients, connecting individuals with local and national resources, and more.

After the picnic began, everyone was invited to participate in the ribbon-cutting of the prairie, Pascoe said. Having the prairie is beneficial for the health of patients, she added.

“When patients are sitting in an infusion chair, getting chemo for five to 10 hours a day perhaps, they want something to look at, something that’s inspiring, something that’s beautiful to take their attention away from what it is that they’re going through,” Pascoe stated. “This prairie that was planted by the Toledo Zoo is exactly that for the infusion patients.”

Inside the infusion center, patients can view the prairie and read signage about the different plants and animals they see, adding an educational component, Stout said.

“To be able to go through your treatment and see these (flowers) and to see butterflies, animals in their natural habitat, it’s so relaxing and peaceful and it’s very important to everyone involved in that process to have this,” Maumee Mayor Rich Carr said.

It’s also an opportunity for the community to benefit from the positive environmental impact a prairie has.

“Something like this, the amount of carbon this is going to sequester, the amount of pollinators it’s going to support, the birds that will come here throughout the winter, it’s going to be incredible and then to be able to actually provide serenity and peace to people going through such a traumatic period of time in their life, it’s amazing to be able to connect all those things,” said Jeff Sailer, president and CEO of the Toledo Zoo.

Wild Toledo, a part of the Toledo Zoo, has continued to install more than 80 prairies around Northwest Ohio, leading to benefits for everyone in the area.

It’s also an action that the zoo can advise people to take to help with conservation.

Dr. Ryan Walsh, director of plant conservation for the zoo, recommends those interested visit the website wildtoledo.org to learn more about what they can do in their own yards to help with conservation issues.

In September, once the Wild Toledo nursery reopens for the season, area residents can even purchase native plants and select their own variety of blooms, just like those at the Toledo Clinic Cancer Center.

“Every single one of these plants came from the Wild Toledo nursery that we run,” Walsh said about the prairie.

The prairie is divided into several sections. The large area in the center is designed like a typical prairie, Walsh said. Surrounding the outside of the prairie are multiple beds filled with specific native plant species that appeal to different wildlife, including native birds, butterflies and other pollinators.

“Native animal species need native plant species to survive,” Walsh explained.

The Toledo Zoo is hoping to continue installing more prairies throughout the area, to make sure everyone and everything, from native animals to residents to the environment, benefits from the good they provide, Sailer stated.

The partnerships between the Toledo Zoo and area businesses will hopefully continue to grow, helping the environment and area residents, he added.

“One thing about chambers is our mission is to bring businesses together and hope they can make connections, and it’s so mazing we have two amazing local organizations that have teamed up to create a harmonizing experience for their patients and the people who are coming here for whatever reason,” said Maumee Chamber of Commerce executive director Kristin Meyer. “To have everyone work together, we love to see that.”

Check Also

Austin Wilson Is Accepted Into The U.S. Naval Academy

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — The first time Austin Wilson stepped onto the bridge of a …