CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – The Centerville-Washington Township Park District is turning loss into art. The park district recently began transforming dead trees, many claimed by the emerald ash borer, into wood carvings.
Ginger Clark, the community engagement coordinator for the park district, explained the community removed more than 4,000 ash trees as a result of the invasive beetle. She said it’s drastically affected the canopy coverage at the district’s 50 parks.
“It’s just been an awful situation,” Clark said. “4,000 is only what we’ve removed. There’s been thousands of other trees lying dead in the parks that haven’t been removed.”
In order to beautify some of the dead and dying ash and locust trees, the park district enlisted help from local artist Loren Lorenzo to carve them into sculptures of native animals.
“Especially for children, it fosters creativity and imagination and it’s a nice thing for them to be doing,” Lorenzo said of the initiative.
He continued, “To have people stop at this spot and spend time here and look at it and talk about it… it’s an inspiration to people.”
Clark said the park district is already receiving positive feedback from community members and hopes the new art pieces will inspire more people to visit the parks.
“It’s been great to see them coming out and getting interested in a park that had little use before,” she said.
This season, Lorenzo will carve six sculptures into tree trunks at several different parks. So far, completed or nearly completed sculptures include:
- An owl and owlets in Village South Park – 411 North Village Drive
- A squirrel in Grant Park – 616 Grant’s Trail
- A fox in Black Oak Park – 1552 Ambridge Road
Plans for the additional three carvings are underway at Forest Walk Park, 7570 Forest Brook Boulevard and in a high traffic area of Grant Park.
Lorenzo will continue teaming up with CWPD to carve more sculptures in the coming years. Clark said eventually the park district plans to turn the artwork into a scavenger hunt.