SEYMOUR Wis. (WEAU) – A group of volunteers braved the cold weather on Saturday morning to help regrow a meadow in Eau Claire County.
A century ago, Wisconsin had millions of prairie landscapes. Today, only a small percentage remains.
“Historically, this area would have seen a lot of prairie where now there’s probably less than half a percent of the original prairie soil,” said Jon Maurer, a member of the Chippewa Savannah Chapter of the Prairie Enthusiasts.
Members of the Chippewa Savannah Chapter are working hard to change that.
On Saturday, a group of volunteers sowed the seeds for a new meadow at the Lake Altoona District landfill.
“The disappearance of butterflies and the subsequent disappearance of birds is directly linked to the loss of this critical habitat,” Maurer said. “So we try to give them a chance.”
The volunteers planted their seed mix on about four acres of land.
“It’s about $4,000 worth of seed, so we’re trying to stretch it out and bridge the remains,” Maurer said. “It’s something other chapter members have done in previous years, but we’ll eventually collect seeds from the plants too.”
Joe Kirst of the Eau Claire River Watershed Coalition joined the group to bring the prairie back to life.
“So anything I can help, with volunteers for beautiful scenery and pollinators,” Kirst said. “It’s a good sense of citizenship.”
Kirst says it was nice to see people come out and help out.
“It was just fun being here,” Kirst said. “I had a little kid here, which is great, the younger generation.”
With the best efforts of volunteers, Maurer believes the butterflies and birds will come back and thrive.
“Prairie’s tends to take a few years to really kick off,” Maurer said. “So after the second and third year, you know, there’s a saying in gardening, that says first you sow, then you cultivate, and then you show.”
Maurer says they planted the prairie mix while there was still snow on the ground because some seeds need frost to break down their outer shell.
Maurer expects they can start to see flowers and grass by the end of summer, but says it may be around 2 or 3 years before the meadow appears. mature.
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