Communiversity gardens holds volunteer ‘ReWilding’ event at prairie

By Ashley Dwy and Mikah Walker

Communiversity Prairie Garden held a volunteer event to weed Goldenrod and other invasive plants 4 p.m. Monday between Grant Towers and Stevenson Towers on Stevenson Drive.

This is typically done twice a year, once in the spring — around Earth Day — to plant fresh plants from the greenhouse, and once in the fall to prepare the fall bed, student manager Andrea Marquardt said. Volunteer opportunities are available from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and registration is located on the Communiversity Garden’s website.

Co-managers of the Communiversity Garden Melissa Burlingame and Christine Lagattolla came up with the term ReWilding in a meeting, Lagattolla said.

“It is essentially returning the plants back to native, or its original state,” Lagattolla said. “It’s like ReWilding, going back to the wild Illinois. It’s good to imagine what it used to look like in this state and how beautiful it used to be.”

The main goal of the event was to get the plants ready for the fall bed preparations.

“The prairie ReWilding is removing some invasive natives, or others that can be viewed as weeds that have a growth pattern, such as the Goldenrod – which is what we’re pulling out – and replacing those with slower growing, less dominant plants,” Marquardt said.

Some purposes of the garden include improving education on farming practices, encouraging environmental awareness and helping alleviate struggles associated with food deserts in the community, according to the garden’s website.

“It’s really about valuing our prairies because we’ve lost so many of them [because of] human settlements, farms and just where we’re living right now – we had to get rid of all of that farmland,” Oliver Carlin, intern and environmental studies major, said.