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On Monday, November 7, over 250 seventh-graders from Patrick Marsh Middle School helped plant 18 acres of prairie at Groundswell’s Patrick Marsh Wildlife Area. Students helped scatter seeds from more than 40 species of prairie wildflowers and grasses, a mix designed to attract and host native pollinators like the monarch butterfly. This educational event gave the students a hands-on experience in the restoration of the kind of native prairie landscape that once stretched across Dane County. As the prairie planting matures in the next few years, it will provide vital habitat and food for many of the insects that pollinate agricultural crops around Sun Prairie. Jason Sromovsky captured this video of the planting:

The planting replaced a soybean field east of Sun Prairie along Town Hall Road, just south of Patrick Marsh. On the eastern doorstep of Sun Prairie, this land is part of a 320-acre wildlife area which is open to the public for a variety of outdoor recreation activities and is owned by the DNR, Dane County, and Groundswell. The event was coordinated by Groundswell, Madison Audubon Society, Patrick Marsh Conservancy, and the Discovery Club at Patrick Marsh Middle School.

“This community has been very supportive of our plans to make Patrick Marsh a better community place. After the success of our first planting with Patrick Marsh Middle School in 2013, we wanted to be sure to include our next generation of land stewards once again.” – Tony Abate, Groundswell Conservation Specialist

THANK YOU to Patrick Marsh Middle School Discovery Club and Groundswell supporters for funding the purchase of the prairie seed and Madison Audubon Society and their volunteers for collecting much of the seed. And thank you to Jason Sromovsky for capturing and creating this video.