Glacial Drumlin School’s Prairies

“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

~Aldo Leopold

The Glacial Drumlin School in Cottage Grove inspired me to create this site. It is a large suburban middle school build in the early 2000’s in what was previously a cornfield on the eastern edge of the village. I have fond memories of standing on the edge of that field with my preschool son watching the farmer drive his tractor through the field at harvest time the year before it was built.

The school is still bordered on one side by the hedgerow that existed between the cornfield in my memories and the neighboring cornfield. The hedgerow is a mix of all of the species you’d expect to find on the edge – a few oak trees, quite a few mulberries which offer up delightful berries for most of the summer, various shrubs and black raspberry brambles.

The school’s most interesting environmental feature is perhaps the geothermal heating system. It uses the earth’s steady subterranean temparature to reduce the amount of energy the school needs for heating and cooling. The teachers have also added a kitchen garden near the school and use it to grow veggies. Local families volunteer time in the summer to help take care of it and get to watch it grow in the process.

Starting in 2008, the teachers and students have also added three patches of prairie over time. They contain a wide mix of prairie plants native to our region. My goal it to learn more about the prairies by cataloging the plants in them. To examine what is growing there, what thrives, what struggles, and which plants congregate together. I will start the inventory of the plants this summer and share my findings here.