Pollinators Plus is an Ohio registered non-profit corporation. It's primary purpose is to raise awareness about pollinators and the many threats that they face, as well as raising funds to create well maintained pollinator habitats and remove invasive plants. Pollinators Plus was founded by Cincinnati native Ken Carman. Ken is an accomplished interpretive naturalist, an experienced organic gardener, and one of the most radically resourceful people you will ever meet.
To learn more about Ken, and why he is arguably the most qualified person to take on this project, read some of his background below. Before you do however, click on this link to see some of the beautiful wildlife photo albums he has put together over the past year, followed by more wildlife albums he created while managing a nature preserve in South Carolina prior to moving back to Cincinnati. Be sure you check out this album of images that he has taken in just the last ten months while working for Norwood Hardware, which has frontage along the Mill Creek. Also, here are photos of the first project taken on by Pollinators Plus. This is a Milkweed Rescue/Pollinator Habitat project off of Fields Ertel (Symmes Township, Hamilton County Ohio) in the heart of a business district. It was started the first week of June 2017, and look what it is now!
More about Ken Carman:
Ken is currently employed as a detailer/estimator for Norwood Hardware and supply, as of February 8th 2017. I also began my career in commercial doors and hardware working for NHS as their head locksmith from February 1987 through August 1989. He has known the Chabots (owners) for 55 years, having grown up across the street from them in Greenhills. He and Craig are the same age, and were close friends all through school.
Most recently Ken managed Roxbury Park in Meggett, South Carolina from November 2013 through September 2016. He was hired as the park caretaker, but immediately appointed himself park naturalist, park historian, park wildlife photographer, and park wildlife habitat manager (see attached document detailing many of my accomplishments there).
Prior to moving to South Carolina, Ken lived in Dayton Ohio from 2003 through 2011. While in Dayton, Ken launched a major beautification and cleanup project along West 3rd St. which included planting, mulching, fertilizing, and watering over thirty flower beds. Most of these well maintained flower beds were created in locations that were covered with weeds and litter when he started, and two of them were over 100 yards long. He also walked the neighborhoods of west Dayton with a 90 gallon trash can, picking up thousands of pounds of recyclable glass and plastic bottles that littered the neighborhoods.
His next project in Dayton was to launch Feed Dayton, an urban farming project that raised fresh food for the homeless. When Ken and his wife left Dayton in 2011, he had established seven “farm” sites scattered across Dayton, and had been providing fresh kale, and other vegetables to several area agencies that were feeding the hungry.
While in Dayton, Ken was featured on seven local news broadcasts, and interviewed on two live radio shows. He was one of three individuals selected from a county of 500,000 residents to help form a new Keep Montgomery County Beautiful committee. Ken was also twice chosen by the county to provide Earth Day interviews for local news stations . . . that without even being a county employee.
Prior to moving to Dayton, Ken had spent some twenty years in the commercial door and hardware industry, where I was a highly respected locksmith, installer, estimator, and now detailer. During that time he was the head locksmith for four of the companies he worked for, and for several years owned his own locksmith business both in South Carolina, and here in Ohio.
Ken grew up in the 70’s mentoring under the naturalists of the Hamilton County Park District. He attended many of the Sunday morning nature walks. When riding his bike as a teenager from his home near Winton Woods to parks as far away as Shawnee Lookout, rest assured he stayed for both walks. Ken also spent one summer volunteering building trails under the late John Mundy, and also spent a good deal of time with Bob Mason. Bob was a park ranger when Ken was growing up, but went on to be over environmental control for what is now Great Parks. Although Bob has since retired, he has come back part time to oversee a pipeline incident in the western part of the county. I spent time with the late Warren and Elizabeth Wells, and the late John Mundy, but spent most of my time learning from park district naturalist Dave Imbrogno, who lives with his wife up near Caesar Creek State Park.
Although there have been distractions along the way, his love for all things nature, and his love for gardening have never left him. Furthermore, I Ken has many strengths and skillsets that will not show up on a resume.
He is a very creative, outside the box thinker. He is extremely resourceful, always looking for ways to effectively utilize what is on hand, and if at all possible without spending money.
Now here is some of what Ken accomplished while managing Roxbury Park in South Carolina up until last fall when he moved back to Ohio to help take care of his elderly parents:
(Roxbury Park . . . Charleston, SC)
• Ken was officially hired as the caretaker at Roxbury Park for when the "park" was open on Saturday's and Sundays (starting November 16th 2013).
• Ken immediately (with permission) appointed himself the park naturalist, historian, wildlife photographer, habitat manager, and much more. (He was paid 20 hrs/wk the first year and a half, and 25 /wk the remaining months. I worked as a volunteer 20 to 40 hours per week, almost every single week for nearly three years). The park never once was closed on the weekends during his time as caretaker, even staying open through the 1000 Year rain event.
• He created and managed the web site, the Facebook page, and was the primary marketer for the park.
• He was directly responsible for connecting with local scout troops, and organized four Eagle Scout projects that were completed . . . all ones that I had recommended/requested.
• He organized and lead nature tours for several scout troops, the local Sierra Club chapter, the local Native Plant Society, the local Master Naturalists, and many other groups.
• He registered the site as an Ebird hotspot, and helped bring the bird species record up to 174 species by the time I left.
• He also single handedly organized three annual President's Day bird counts, with the last one in 2016 seeing 75 species recorded in that one day. Staff from the Charleston Aquarium, Center For Birds of Prey, and many of the area's top birders, as well as numerous Phd biologists/ornithologists, participated in these counts.
• He created several new trails, and placed perches out in the ponds, and all over the former hay field. The perches I erected in the hay field were used by 52 different species of birds that he was able to photograph!
• He began planting native asters and swamp daisies, and when he left last fall there were over 3000 plants going into full bloom, and all of them were well mulched with aged wood chips(He had 15 truckloads delivered) and fertilized, and had been watered numerous times during summer dry spells.
• Ken helped organize a weekend visit by SCAN (South Carolina Association of Naturalists) for a "bio-blitz", plus helped lead tours for two bird walks with SCBC (South Carolina Bird Club), and one outing with the CBS (Carolina Butterfly Society), as well as a second butterfly walk led by local butterfly expert Dr. Dennis Forsythe.
• Ken began photographically cataloging the wildlife in the park before it even opened, and during the almost three years it was officially open (on the weekends only), he posted 426 albums on Facebook containing over 12,000 images (edited down from tens of thousands taken). The Facebook photos provided a weekly and sometimes daily look at what was being observed in the park at that time. He also created albums on Flickr that showed by category what was seen over the course of time . . IE "The Birds of Roxbury", "The Butterflies of Roxbury", "The Lichens of Roxbury".
•The raffle idea was entirely his, resulting in $2600 being raised for the town, not counting his portion.
All of this while being paid for only 20 hours per week for the first year and a half, and 25 hours for the remaining time there.