Only 1% of natural prairie is left in Wisconsin today. Establishing a prairie with native plants at our school transformed our drain field into a learning resource for the community. In a few years, it’ll also become a seed source for native prairie plants.
The students completed a school site investigation and identified our school’s two-acre drain field as an area they wanted to improve. This area is highly visible and the students decided that by restoring it to native habitat, they could beautify our school grounds while creating a place for people to experience the natural world.
With the assistance of a GreenWorks! grant from PLT, we were able to create a large prairie with a plant demonstration garden on either end. Students in grades 4 through 8, along with community volunteers and supporters, came together to implement the project.
Students determined which plants would thrive in our climate and soil type. They planted a mix of plant life that can best tolerate the sandy, dry conditions of our area. Students developed a watering schedule for the gardens and cultivated new plant plugs that were donated by a local greenhouse. They also constructed blue bird boxes and benches to provide shelter for birds and places for people to sit and rest along the trails.
Hear from the students:
NorthStar Community Charter School in Minong, Wisconsin, was awarded a GreenWorks! grant to transform a two-acre drain field into native prairie. Students in grades 4-8 worked together to generate ideas for the site after studying its condition and options for improvement.
Apply for a PLT GreenWorks! Grant
My best suggestion to future grant recipients is to be in contact with your school board and maintenance staff from the beginning. By having everyone on board from the point of application, it allows for the process to run smoothly.