DAYTON, OHIO (WDTN) – Aullwood Audubon is known for its beautiful foliage and trails, but also for the giant trolls in their forest! Thanks to Thomas Dambo, the artist behind this project, the park has thrived in the year after the art’s construction.

But something that not everyone knows about the trolls…they’re completely recycled. Dambo has a passion for utilizing trash to create his art. Bringing a whole new meaning to the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

“I’ve been making recycled art now as my profession for almost 20 years,” Dambo said. ” I want to give people great experiences with garbage, and I want to show people that you can make beautiful and awesome things out of your trash.”

Laurie Cothran, Development and Marketing Manager at Aullwood Audubon said Dambo is one of the greatest artists to build things in the woods.

“Thomas, his whole mission is to draw people into the woods, come into the woods and get out of your comfort zone,” Cothran said.

Cothran said the nature center was working to recover from the devastating losses of COVID-19 when they thought of Dambo’s work.

“One of the solutions and ideas they came up with was, hey, let’s, let’s put a really amazing art exhibit at all wood to draw people into the woods,” Cothran said.

And their idea worked! Cothran said after tracking zip codes in the past year, they’ve seen visitors from all over the globe.

“We’ve seen about 50,000 new people come to Aullwood,” Cothran said.

“It completely changed the whole economy upside down because they’ve had so many visitors in the park,” Dambo said.

Dambo said it’s easy to forget that our actions and decisions have consequences that stick around for countless years after we pass away.

“A sustainable world is a circle where it goes around and around and around,” Dambo said. “Nobody’s better than anybody else…. that’s how nature works.”