For several years, Maharishi University of Management has been busily restoring native Iowa prairie. Reconstructing native prairie on campus is a major focus in Maharishi University of Management’s efforts to become increasingly sustainable. A few years ago, Maharishi University of Management (MUM) Organic Farms received a prairie reconstruction grant of $17,890 from the Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund (LRTF), affiliated with the Iowa Department of Transportation.
The purpose of the grant was to revitalize 14 acres of previous demolition sites and reconstruct an inviting native prairie parkland with a wide diversity of species, mown paths and borders, park benches, educational kiosks, and plant identification signs. The sites will be open to the public, as well as act as outdoor classrooms. Additionally, landscaping around University buildings now incorporates native plant species.
Native prairie planting at MUM is a sustainable practice for a variety of reasons, including:
Prairie Facts (from the Iowa Prairie Network)
- 85% of Iowa’s landmass was once covered by prairie
- The Loess Hills in Western Iowa contain the most prairie fragments left
- Prairies need to be burned every few years in order to seed properly
- There are three types of prairie – tallgrass, shortgrass, and mixed prairie
- Large root systems of prairie plants decrease the threat of flooding during storms, increase water retention in the soil, and ultimately create some of the richest topsoil in the world
Iowa was blanketed with a perennial ocean of tallgrass prairiefor 8,000 years. Because prairie created rich topsoil, most of it was plowed and converted to farmland within the span of one human’s lifetime.
Prairies are one of the most complex and intricate plant communities in the world and are now one of the most rare ecosystems in North America. Fortunately, because it has so many practical and esthetic benefits, prairie is being reintroduced in landscapes throughout the Midwest.
Learn more about Maharishi University of Management’s prairie planting initiatives, here.
Learn more about Sustainable Living at Maharishi University of Management, here.
|Anna Bruen is a MUM alumnus who graduated with a degree in Sustainable Living. Anna is the resident blogger here at MUM. To learn more about Anna take a look at her introduction post.|