Westerville is known for its great natural beauty. It can be seen everywhere within the city limits whether it is on the boulevards, the great nature trails, or the beautiful parks to be found here. What is interesting about Westerville is that its commitment to nature is both open and also very subtle. There are some amazing places like Highlands Park, and here and there are places tucked away in the Westerville neighborhoods. One of these is the Boyer Nature Preserve. This is a mini wetland that is nicely located at 452 East Park St.
It is easy not to notice Boyer because of its size. This is a nature preserve that has only 11.43 acres to it. It was purchased over a period of years by the city of Westerville. There was a time when Boyer was not assessable to the public, but it is now and folks are welcome to take a stroll. Centrally located in the preserve is a 1 acre pond. Strictly speaking, this is a glacial kettle; a remnant of the Ice Age that was left behind as the glaciers retreated northward. The pond is shallow, with a depth of no more than 3 feet. Fish do swim in the water but not very many. The reason simply is the pond is not deep enough to accommodate large numbers. What can be found in the pond on any given day, are a flock of wild wood ducks. These scoot in an out of the water foliage, and can be watched from benches and the floating docks along the perimeter of the pond.
A nature path borders the water and it is a great place just to stroll and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. This is not a paved sidewalk by any means. It also is not engineered or completely flat, but has loops and elevations here and there as a person makes his or her way around the pond. Actually, the path can be thought of as a very good jogging trail for someone wishing to get ready for any of Westerville’s 5K or 10K races throughout the year.
What is unique about a natural preserve is it provides a service to the community. As a wetland, Boyer can be considered a working natural filter. The vegetation growing in this nature preserve helps remove plant nutrients that may encourage the growth of algae in the water. A person can also think of Boyer as one of nature’s sponges. Excess water that results from heavy rain or flooding is absorbed by the wetlands. Boyer also serves as the home for a number of species of insects and animals that are native to the area. The nature preserve is surrounded by a fence, and that helps keep out animals that otherwise would prey on the smaller creatures that are inside.
Although there is the fence, Boyer is not totally immune from uninvited guests coming in. These are more of the plant type, and there are invasive species that take root among the trees. Wild honeysuckle is a major problem. This particular plant starts early in the year and stays late, creating large patches of shade in the preserve. The challenge is that this blocks out the sun and wildflowers have a difficult time growing. Fortunately for this beautiful wetland the community of Westerville is committed to keeping honeysuckle at bay. Volunteer groups such as the Boy Scouts and Sierra Club have gone into the preserve and worked to remove this invasive plant. It’s not always the easiest job, but these volunteers have seen to it that Boyer natural preserve is not overrun with patches of honeysuckle.
Volunteer efforts also continue to keep Boyer natural preserve a real ruby in the woods for Westerville folks. It is an area that is just the right size for an after work walk, or perhaps even a brief stroll with the family through nature. Boyer gives every visitor the opportunity to take a look at nature that is not mapped out in rigid grids, but gently sprawls along the banks of a body of water. It provides a little bit of peace and serenity in the heart of suburbia. It is definitely a visual treat worth seeing.