In 2017, the MAMGA Board decided to select a project that would be the focus of volunteer efforts in the community. The site that was selected is a prairie next to the Lussier Cultural Heritage Center that slopes to the east and the wetlands along the Yahara River. Our on-site partner is Clare Carlson, Dane County naturalist coordinator. We also worked with Lars Higdon, Dane County Botanist/Naturalist.
Much of the effort was to remove the wild parsnip, honeysuckle, thistle and reed canary grass. We also transplanted prairie plants from the existing prairie areas on the Lussier grounds in areas #1, 2 and 3.
In April 2018, we learned that a pollinator garden would be installed between the Lussier Center's parking lot and the western edge of the prairie, overlooking our larger project. The display of prairie flowers and smaller grasses will create an eye-catching entrance to the larger view. Here is the list of plants ordered to fill the 350 sq ft pollinator garden according to this plan.
During the winter, several MAMGA members worked together to apply for a grant from the Dane County Environmental Council for money that will be used to buy native prairie plants.
The pollinator garden was installed on May 18 at the site that had been well-mulched with wood chips and bordered with local stone. We removed several inches of the wood chips, planted the seedlings, and mulched the bed with straw. Several of the penstemon plants were blooming in no time. The weather turned hot so we watered the new seedlings twice when the soil seemed dry.
The next planting event will take place on Wednesday, June 6 starting at 9am. We have 512 plants to set in the larger prairie areas. A second shipment of plants will arrive later this month. Any MAMGA member who is interested in volunteering should contact Dennis Tande (email@example.com) (608) 849-8525 or Percy Mather (firstname.lastname@example.org (608) 233-1955.
Beginning on June 1, MAMGA volunteers plan to be at the site on the first and third Friday mornings from 9am to noon, weather permitting. (Call (608) 520-4364 for last minute information on the weather.) We may also schedule some other times if there is interest, perhaps on a Sunday, when the Lussier Center is rarely being used. Areas #1, 2 and 3 on the map will be given priority for planting and removal of invasives. We will extend our focus to adjacent areas this summer and next year. As we get more familiar with the site, we will consider starting more plants from seeds that are collected in the fall each year, under the direction of Dane County Parks staff.