Prairie Burns at Holy Wisdom Monastery - 2010

In the last two years Holy Wisdom Monastery had been unable to keep up with prescribed prairie burns on the 130 acre property. Our objective was to catch up with needed prescribed prairie burns to keep the 100+ acres of monastery prairies healthy.

Our goal was to contract out with professional service to burn 60-80% of the prairies as a significant start to catching up with needed burning. Because monastery property is in the Yahara Watershed, work done on this land greatly affects the amount and quality of water run-off into Lake Mendota and other surrounding areas.

Quercus Land Conservation crew was contracted to burn a large 60 acre prairie that had not been burned for 3 years. Their crew of 6 worked with our Groundskeeper, Paul Boutwell and three volunteers to accomplish that burn by mid-afternoon on Monday April 12, 2010. They were also able to burn a 5 acre area around Lost Lake that had not been burned for 2 years. These two burns represent approximately 65% of the prairies needed to be burned.

This means we have reached our goal to catch up with prescribed burns and now can continue work to keep up the recommended burn schedule for a healthy and diverse prairie. Because we were also able to purchase needed burn equipment, we will be able to use trained staff and volunteers in the coming years without the continuing expense of outsourcing this task. We will also be able to share equipment and personnel in the coming burn seasons with Governor Nelson State Park, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, and other neighboring sites.

Our outreach plans include hosting educational nature walks. We have scheduled monthly walks from May through October in 2010, each featuring a different aspect of the environment. It is exciting to feature the newly burned and healthy land as we introduce visitors to these restored prairies, wetlands, and the wildlife that finds sanctuary here at Holy Wisdom Monastery.

We are grateful for this grant which has already made a difference in maintaining a healthy natural environment for native plant species and wildlife.

Jan Lottig
Development Manager
Holy Wisdom Monastery
4200 Cty Hwy M
Middleton, WI 53562
608-836-1631 ext123

Visit Holy Wisdom Monastery's website at www.benedictinewomen.org