Hartland students burn prairie to help renew ecosystem

The burn has been a school tradition for 12 years

HARTLAND, WI - Burning it down, to build it back up, students at one local school spent Wednesday burning down the school’s prairie with hopes of rejuvenating it. 

“I used to teach biology and environmental science here so this is an extension of what I used to do when I taught here," Steve Tomasini said. 

Although teacher emeritus, Steve Tomasini no longer teaches at University Lake School, he’s helped keep the school’s prairie burn alive. According to Tomasini, not only is the burn important for maintaining the ecosystem, but it helps renew it as well.  

“It’ll return the nutrients to the soil which is important," Tomasini said. "There’s no fertilizer taking place here and it will also allow the seeds to germinate and start their new growth."  

Over the past 12 years, students and faculty have worked to burn the school’s prairie, but this year is a first for sophomore student Elyse Horner.

Not only does the burn allow students, like Horner, to participate in some very hands-on learning, but it also helps germinate seeds, eliminate invasive species and return nutrients to the soil.

“Someone driving past would probably be like what the heck is this crazy school doing," Horner said. "But it’s just one of the fun activities and extracurricular activities that our school offers here."

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