Erosion was creating a safety hazard along the Rock River at a Waupun school. The erosion problem was resolved and the north side of the river was completed last summer. It was finished with riprap, shaped and seeded with grass. In June, a group of high school students was planning to complete the south side of the river by seeding native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Due to wet weather however, the project was postponed until July.
On July 17, a group of 12 Waupun High School students and former students, five adults, including school staff, and Neil DiBoll, owner of Prairie Nursery in Westfield, began working on the south side of the river at 7 a.m.
DiBoll provided the native wild flowers, prairie grasses and seeds for the project and supervised the project completion.
"I gave the kids an orientation so they understood exactly what we were doing and would be knowledgeable of the process," DiBoll explains.
The group started by seeding the native wetland seeds near the water which is typically wet or flooded. "Then we seeded the rest of the re-graded slope to attract butterflies and bees with a pollinator mix," he explains.
DiBoll showed the students how to mix the seed on the tarp with sawdust.
"We used sawdust because the seed is small and it needed to be spread thin," he says.
The students spread the seed mixed with sawdust.
"Then we started the installation of the plants."
That involved the adults drilling four-inch holes with a device a little smaller than an ice auger.
"The plants are in three-inch pots so the four-inch holes are perfect for the plants," he says. "They removed the plants from the pots and put them in the holes drilled by the adults."