Livi Clark, a 2016 graduate of Beaver Dam High School, is especially excited about a new look for one of the three ponds that she will be creating this year.
“It’s right next to my old high school,” Clark said. “Doing that one pond will be nice. I hope people will learn from it and enjoy it.”
Clark, the executive officer of Liv4prairie, is attending school at UW-La Crosse. Her company was hired by the city of Beaver Dam to plant prairie gardens around the state-mandated ponds at the Family Center, Patrick Parker Conley BMX Skate Park and behind Beaver Dam Community Library.
Liv4prairie was established in 2010 when Clark was in sixth-grade.
The prairie gardens will deter Canada geese while providing natural beauty to the area.
“The prairie plants will also help in stabilizing the banks along the retention ponds due to the depth of their roots,” Clark said.
The city will mow the area before Clark plants the seed mixture for the low growing prairie gardens.
“On average the gardens will be three feet tall but that all depends on soil quality and weather conditions,” Clark said.
The seed mix includes butterfly milkweed, yarrow, purple coneflower, pale purple coneflower, Canadian wildrye, blue false indigo, wild iris, Ohio spiderwort, prairie blazingstar, black eyed Susan, yellow coneflower, white wild indigo, switch grass, ox eye sunflower, rattlesnake master, wild quinine, wild bergamot, wild aster, New England aster, coreopsis, common milkweed, golden alexander, brown eyed Susan, nodding onion, sideoats gama, bottle brush grass and purple prairie clover.
Clark said she will be planting after the geese migrate.
“I’m aiming before Dec. 1 but there is no guarantee,” Clark said.
The first year species will emerge in the spring, Clark said. She is projecting those will be the black eyed Susan, wild bergamot and Canadian wildrye.
“There will not be a lot of diversity in the prairies during the first years,” Clark said. “For a lot of the plants it will take a few years for them to tap down their roots. As years go by, it will only get better looking by taking care of it by cutting or burning.”
Clark said she suggested controlled burns in 2018 and will be working with the Beaver Dam Fire Department.
“I think it is awesome that Beaver Dam is doing this,” Clark said. “A lot of cities in the state have started to create prairie gardens. It makes things look so pretty.”
There are almost 35,000 square feet that will be planted at a cost of $1,675
Liv4prairie created a prairie garden at the Beaver Dam Conservation Club two years ago.