Don't let the smoke, rakes and flames fool you—our students had a clear-cut purpose in mind when setting fire to a recently renovated hillside just outside of the Admission Office.
On a clear, windless afternoon in early March, small, controlled burn fires were carefully set by our Landscaping Crew to regenerate and invigorate native grasses and wildflowers such as Indian Grass, Asters, Prairie Drop Seed, big and little Blue Stem and Bottle Brush. The fires also helped to eliminate invasive woody trees and shrubs that threatened the existence and health of the native grasses.
The crew made several pre-fire preparations including cutting fire lines and obtaining a burn permit from the state. Once the burn day arrived students used hand-held drop tanks containing an 80% diesel, 20% gasoline mixture to start the fires, and rakes and shovels to control the fires. According to our Landscaping Supervisors Tom and Bruce, everything went smoothly and according to plan. The Landscaping Crew purposely burns about 2 acres of campus annually for native grass and wildflower restoration and also enlists the help of the Natural Resources Crew when fires are especially large or close to the woods.