Picture of Macalester Prairie

The Macalester prairie installation helps increase biodiversity on campus, provides an area for education on native prairie ecosystems for Macalester students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and retains and filters run-off from Macalester's footballl field better than non-native grasses.

Native plant ecosystems have higher biodiversity and are more sustainable than monocultures, such as those frequently found in lawns. This provides a buffer in times of hardship, such as disease, use by animals as food, or drought. Environments with high plant biodiversity can support more species of microogranisms and animals, leading to even higher biodiversity and stability.  The plants best suited to an environment are those that evolved within that environment. These native plants form communities that are extremely well adapted to their environment. In the case of the American Midwest, the native community is the prairie. A healthy, mature prairie can tackle any of the hazards of the Midwest: freezing winters, hot summers, drought, fire from lightning, and grazing by large mammals.

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Last updated:  8/21/06