Clark County is blessed. It truly is beautiful here, especially in the fall. Our late summer may have been dry, but our trees are still putting on quite a show.
I love how the orange, red, and yellow foliage reflects in our rivers, ponds and lakes. The creeks and little streams are particularly nice this time of year. Yes, living in the country does have it benefits.
We are also fortunate to have so many parks, and lucky to have individuals and organizations that take the beauty of this region seriously.
In Mad River Township the Mud Run Conservancy, MRC, is a relatively new non-profit organization that watches over the Mud Run Watershed. The area of the watershed is basically the Mad River Township land that is south of Enon. The source is near the Rocky Point area. Mud Run flows in the valley along Stine Road and behind Hunters Glen and Holiday Valley before it drains into the Mad near the intersection of I-70 and I- 675.
The watershed includes Mud Run, Clear Creek and their tributaries, springs, different kinds of wetlands, and fens, which are all connected. Many of these surface features were begun by the glaciers and glacial deposits that covered this area more than 10,000 years ago. Unique plants grow in this wet area, and wildlife thrives. Studying such a complicated, unique area requires a careful plan.
But there was a slight issue with the research.
“Quite a few of the small creeks were not named,” said Kathleen Mathews.
For clarity the group decided to go through the formal process of naming one of the larger tributaries of Mud Run.
The unnamed creek begins near the Springfield Airpark, flows under Route 68, and along Hustead Road. It curves quite a bit and passes under South Tecumseh Road and Fairfield Pike before merging with Mud Run near the intersection of Hagan Road and Fairfield.
On Independence Day at the firehouse picnic the community was invited to submit suggestions to name this tributary. Names had to comply with specific guidelines such as not using a living person’s name and using a name with a local link.
In September the MRC board members picked what they considered to be the best five suggestions.
“Coyote Run” was chosen because that area has “an abundance of coyotes.”
“Redside Run” or “Dacey Creek” were both picked because the redside dace minnow has been found in this creek which indicates the creek is healthy and cold spring fed.
Hustead Run was selected because this creek is “parallel to Hustead Road,” and flows through the Hustead area.
The fifth choice, McDonald Brook, remembers a farmer who once lived along that creek.
The final selection of a name for the tributary will be up to local children.
These five choices have been given to students at Greenon’s Primary School for consideration. Educational posters describing the naming process and showing its location on a map have been on display at the school.
The Mud Run Conservancy has organized everything, according to Superintendent Brad Silvus. They even provided lesson plans for the teachers.
On November 4, the Kindergarten through fourth grade students will vote.
As Greenon Communications Coordinator Megan Anthony told me, since the school is a polling place and closed on Election Day, the students are voting the day before.
Students will get an “I voted” sticker and a paper explaining the process to the parents.
“We are excited for our Greenon Knights to be part of this process,” said Anthony. “It’s been a great opportunity for students to learn more about Mud Run, our local community, and voting. We’re grateful to the Mud Run Conservancy for letting us be part of this and for all their work to create a memorable learning experience for our students.”
As it turns out the education was not just for the students.
“I have learned so much doing this,” said Mathews who also learned how local roads got their names.
By sharing information with the community, the members of the conservancy now have an even better understanding of the history and geology of the area they protect.
Mathews will soon present the winning name to the Mad River Township Trustees and Clark County Commissioners for approval. Then she will send the name to the U.S. Board of Geographical Names.
If the name is formally accepted, it will appear on U.S. Geological Survey Maps. A community celebration will be held to commemorate the naming of the stream and signs will go up at bridges that cross it.
Those redside dacey minnows will not be aware that their creek finally has a name, but those elementary students who voted for the name will enjoy seeing the name they selected for decades.
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