Students restore prairie on Eagle Nature Trail
EAGLE Volunteers at Eagle Elementary School and members of the Eagle Nature Trail Committee are planning a prairie enhancement project at the Eagle Nature Trail, which links the local library and the school in the Village of Eagle.
Learning about native plants that have grown in this area for thousands of years is a goal of the project for children, volunteers and the community at large. Participants will learn about the butterflies, songbirds and other creatures that use these native plants for food and shelter.
"This prairie planting will recreate a sampling of what the original Eagle Prairie was like and restore some of the area's lost heritage for school children, as well as the rest of the community," said Mariette Nowak, president of the Kettle Moraine Chapter of Wild Ones.
Early settler journals described the prairies in Eagle: In an 1842 letter to his brother, Frederic Sprague wrote, "The prairie on which I live is a complete flower garden every week and almost every day from the first of March to the first of October. There is a new kind of flower coming forth; sometimes the prairie is a beautiful blue, sometimes, pink, sometimes yellow, and sometimes white with flowers almost all of which are new to me."
Site preparation began last summer and fall with various groups donating time to help clear invasive plants and shrubs. Among those groups were the Palmyra-Eagle High School students of the National Honor Society, an AmeriCorps group, and local citizens.
The funds for the project are provided by the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program administered by Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes
Seeds for Education grants include technical assistance and advice from local experts. The grants honor Lorrie Otto, who originated the modern era of school garden projects in the 1970s in the Milwaukee area. Agrecol, a local plant nursery, will partner with Wild Ones to supply seeds and plants at a discount.
The Kettle Moraine Chapter of the Wild Ones meets the second Saturday of the month at the DNR headquarters on Hwy 59.
Wild Ones is a non-profit education association dedicated to encouraging the use of native landscaping for its inherent beauty and for the benefit of the environment. For more information, see their website at www.for-wild.org.