Mary Gardiner, an assistant professor at Ohio State University’s Department of Entomology, has been studying 64 empty lots in eight Cleveland neighborhoods since 2009. She believes that insects can help determine the best uses for the 32,000 acres of abandoned property spread across the city, where about 1,000 homes are demolished each year.
For example, she has examined the lead content in spiders that live in vacant lots to determine whether changes have hurt spiders, insects, and plant life. The ultimate goal is to find out whether these empty lots can be used for community gardens, storm-water runoff areas, natural habitats, or even parks.
Dr. Gardiner has worked on many other projects as well, including the Buckeye Lady Beetle Blitz, an Ohio-wide citizen science program aimed at evaluating the current state of native and exotic lady beetles, and the influence of landscape on their populations:
Read more about her vacant lot project at: