Submitted to OnFocus – Aldo Leopold stated, “When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Community members are invited to visit the Marshfield Outdoor Learning Sanctuary located directly west of Marshfield High School on Palmetto Avenue directly north of Tiny Tiger Intergenerational Center. This three-acre parcel of desolate farmland was developed by a team of Marshfield High School (MHS) teachers, students, and community volunteers. MOLS development began in September 2007 to provide a habitat for ongoing environmental science education for students and community members. Mike Check, land developer donated the wetland property to the School District of Marshfield. A Leadership Marshfield team provided expertise of marketing and fundraising for construction of the trail system and shelter.
Three ponds were excavated in 2008 to encourage wetland habitat. A Design Charette facilitated by Randy Lueth, Landscape Architect resulted in the master plan for the property. John Specht, environmental enthusiast identified all the wetland vegetation. The MHS Building Technology students, under the leadership of their teachers, Aaron Scheuer and Ron Sturomski, constructed the bridge, arbors, elevated boardwalks, benches and completed the Whitetails Unlimited Marshfield Chapter shelter in Spring 2021. Agriculture students have cleared the buckthorn invasive shrub, scattered seeds and planted native species. Biology students created wetland educational signage, studied wetland species and designed plant identification signage. AP Environmental Science students managed invasive purple loostrife and mustard plants, conducted water quality studies and used outdoor cameras to view wildlife activity. Art teachers facilitated a Photo Contest for their students using pictures taken in the wetland. Future plans include construction of seating in the shelter and additional boardwalks.
With support from the Marshfield Sunrise Rotary, School District of Marshfield Board of Education, Marshfield FFA & FFA Alumni, Whitetail’s Unlimited Marshfield Chapter, Woodstock Construction, Matthew’s Children’s Foundation (Remb’s Funeral Home), C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant, Stratford Sign Company, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, WisCorps, Forward Bank, Marawood Construction Services, Marshfield Professional Police Association, Marshfield Area Community Foundation grants and individual donations to the MOLS Fund, and hundreds of volunteer hours, this property will provide innovative instructional and recreational opportunities. A student volunteer wrote, “I have been privileged to see nature at its finest; the animal and plant life that thrive in this wetland are incredible and just waiting to be admired.”
Consider taking a walk along the boardwalks or have a picnic lunch in the shelter this summer. You will be sure to enjoy a peaceful, serene wetland in the middle of Marshfield. Interested community members who would like to get involved in wetland environmental preservation are invited to join the MOLS team by contacting Jane Wagner, [email protected] or Jenni Fredrick, [email protected].
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