'Little piece of heaven': Urban prairie project starting to bloom in Kewaskum

NOW: ’Little piece of heaven’: Urban prairie project starting to bloom in Kewaskum

KEWASKUM, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Tucked away on the north side of Kewaskum's new, 31-acre Reigle Family Park, you'll find 5-acres of nature.

"We were trying to figure out what to do with this space," said Anne Trautner, a Reigle Family Park volunteer. "We had five acres and we decided 'plant a prairie.'"

The project was started three years ago, Trautner and company calling on Kewaskum-native and urban forestry expert Ryan Amerling to head up the project. With the tireless work of Amerling and other volunteers, he says he's happy to see the project starting to take shape.

"We're starting to see a lot of the plants that we did plant three years ago," Amerling said. "We have more or less a Midwest blend here, so, a lot of native grasses. It does take time, but they are starting to appear and it's starting to come in pretty nice."

Completely volunteer-driven, the project provides an environmental impact in the community.

"There's a lot of benefit for, obviously pollinators, pollinators, that type of thing," Amerling explained. "It really acts as a water retention. There's really little water runoff. They're a good carbon sink so they trap a lot of carbon dioxide, take it down into the soil and trap that carbon beneath the soil."

The land also serves as an escape for people within the community looking to spend time in nature.

"It's just nice to be out in this environment. You don't feel like you're in the city, really. It's like a little mecca," Amerling said. "Little piece of heaven."

Along with walking paths and a fishing pond, Trautner says the project will soon include interpretive signs that will be installed by an area Eagle Scout. Those signs will help people enjoy the nature and also learn more about what it has to offer the community.

"The things that I've been learning through this process, I would like to share and have other people learn as well," Trautner said. "Not only do we want people to enjoy the nature and the park, but we want it to be an educational experience as well."

She is hopeful the prairie project will bring the community together for years to come.

"I hope that people still continue to step up. I think the big lesson from this park has been what the work volunteers can do," Trautner said. "It's just incredible to start out with nothing and end up with 31-acres of fun."

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