Prairie naturalist and teacher

Holy Wisdom MonasteryBenedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

by John A. Van Dinter, Friends of Wisdom Prairie council member

Wisdom Monastery is committed to maintaining native prairie and savannas and we’ve been aided by a special person who has a tremendous background and knowledge in local native species and habitats. Nancy Schlimgen, a longtime resident of Westport, has helped the state of Wisconsin, Dane County, Westport Township, Holy Wisdom Monastery and many others restore and rebuild our natural habitats. (She is pictured above, left, as former staff naturalist at Holy Wisdom, working with student interns.)

Nancy’s master’s thesis focused on a unique plant, prairie bush clover, which is an endangered species that grows on a remnant of the Empire Prairie, a protected area in Westport. She has conducted nature tours for Holy Wisdom  and many others. Her specialized knowledge of the local ecology has inspired many students.

Nancy began her life-long love of our special native environment by witnessing the stripping of the natural landscape and native habitat. An open grassland near her home was converted into a gravel pit. She said she left in the morning looking out on a natural prairie grassland and came home in the evening to find that same area had become an ugly pile of waste material.

As a science teacher in Sun Prairie she noticed that, despite the name, there was absolutely no prairie in the city. She set out to remedy that travesty and spent years working on the problem. Sun Prairie now has a prairie to support its name.

Nancy Schlimgen will lead us on a walking exploration of a remnant of the Empire Prairie, just outside of Waunakee, to view one of the last surviving populations of prairie bush clover in the United States. Please join us on August 8, 2015 from 10:00 am to noon for an outing to the Westport Drumlin and get to know this gifted woman and teacher. I’m sure she will show us a good time and an extremely rare and endangered plant. More information and registration form are available online at: Friends of Wisdom Prairie Outing, Westport Drumlin.

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