The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


Prairie Restoration

Wohlwend grows wildlife project
Nathan Baker
Wohlwend Elementary recently established a prairie on part of their property. “It’s done a good job of taking care of all that water that used to lay out front and just to be able to see lots of different birds and animals that we have never really seen around the campus we’re now seeing now with all those flowers,” principal Dave Meschke said. The students have also been able to use the prairie for class and club activities.

If you have driven past Oakville Middle or Wohlwend Elementary, then you may have noticed the prairie in front of the schools. The prairie restoration was created from the Wohlwend Grows project that is a part of a 5-6 year plan and is currently in the second to third year, as it has taken a while to start. 

“We had to kill all that turf grass, and then we had to plant a cover crop, and it was a big flooding area as well,” groundskeeper Gerry Spitznagel said. “So we decided that would help. Prairies absorb about eight inches of rain per hour…”

Along with all of the physical work it took to get the prairie started, it took a lot of work to get approval and grants. 

“So we had to get a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation. We ended up getting about two grants worth about $35,000,” Spitznagel said, “and that’s how we accomplished everything that we’ve gotten done. The school district has not paid for anything on this project.”

The students are able to be involved with the prairie through the Conservation Club at Wohlwend. 

“We do a lot of planting. Just this fall we have so many plants in the prairie. Now we were able to collect seeds, and we can plant those once we get those sprouting…Keeping it going is pretty much a group effort with that club, but then also students at school,” fifth grade teacher Betsy Leeker said. “A lot of times teachers will take the kids outside and they’ll learn by the prairie or just investigate it, walk into it, use it for science lessons or sometimes even just sit out there and enjoy it and read.”

The prairie not only benefits the students and community, but it benefits the wildlife, giving them more of a natural environment. 

“It’s helpful for the environment in that it reestablishes native habitat for all of our native pollinators, our native animals that we have, our native songbirds…That’s been really the cool part about it is the animals have really responded to it,” Spitznagel said. 

Not only are animals out by the prairie, but it has attracted some to other areas around the school. Just outside of the fifth grade classroom lives a groundhog family that the students often see. 

“My favorite part is how it’s so big and there’s so much wildlife and it’s so colorful, and I just get to stare at it every day as I’m going in and out of school,” Wohlwend Conservation Club member Declan Cox said.

Cox enjoys that he gets to be a part of the prairie not only because he is in the club, but also because he is a part of the community.

“It’s a beautiful space…” Leeker said. “If you want to come and see what it’s like up close, please come on over. Park your car during the weekend or some time and come check it out.”

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About the Contributor
Maria Parisi, Reporter
Hi, Oakville! My name is Maria Parisi, and I am a senior at Oakville High School. This is my first year on the newspaper staff and my second year on the broadcast staff. Along with my like for journalism, I participate in cross country, swim and track. I look forward to learning more about journalism this year!

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