North American Prairie Conference


Date of this Version



Published in Dave Egan & John A. Harrington, editors, Proceedings of the 19th North American Prairie Conference: The Conservation Legacy Lives On..., University of Wisconsin-Madison, August 8-12, 2004 (Proceedings of the North American Prairie Conference, 19), Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004.


The University of Wisconsin- Madison Arboretum, home to the world's first prairie restoration, has a threefold mission to conserve and restore Arboretum lands, advance the science of restoration ecology, and foster the Land Ethic. Since 1991 , teams of teachers from more than 150 schools in Wisconsin have learned to incorporate ecological restoration into the curriculum through the Earth Partnership for Schools Program. This multi-disciplinary teacher professional development program emphasizes inquiry-based learning and multiple intelligences in a hands-on, collaborative setting. The majority of schools have focused their efforts on prairies. Recreating or restoring an ecological community on school grounds provides opportunities for students to study local history, map current site conditions, learn about species tolerances, conduct research, manage their restorations, and celebrate a new personal relationship with the land. A recent follow-up questionnaire sent to participants since 1994 indicates that 94% of the respondents make use of restoration sites that are on average five yea rs old, at least 2,500 square feet in size, and used by six teachers and 250 students per year.