Wellness Complex Prairie Garden

Native prairie garden installation at WSU’s Integrated Wellness Complex Photo by Becca Berg ’14

The Winona State University campus will soon feature a new interactive garden in front of the Integrated Wellness Complex (IWC).

The installation of this native prairie garden marks a continuation of the high environmental standards set by the LEED Gold certification of the IWC. The garden will highlight native prairie species that require minimum maintenance after the establishment of the vegetation. These indigenous plant species provide many ecological services, including erosion and storm water reduction, pollutant filtration, water quality enhancement, nutrient cycling facilitation, and habitat for pollinators and other invertebrate species.

The garden will be used as a venue for classes, presentations and performances. It can also serve as a tool for educational outreach on native habitat restoration, ecological landscape design and environmental wellness. Each species will be labeled with the plant’s common and scientific names, plus a QR code that links to the WSU Arboretum Online Plant Database, which will provide detailed information about the plant species to campus visitors through their smart phones or tablets. In addition, groupings of butterfly and bird attractants will invite native wildlife and teach visitors about pollination, conservation and biodiversity.

Biology Professor Bruno Borsari guided WSU student Kaitlyn O’Connor in this project.

“This garden will demonstrate to visitors and the entire community how to reconstruct landscapes with sustainability in mind, besides making this space a distinctive, educational feature of our beautiful campus,” said Borsari.

Local contractor Winona Nursery was hired to install the garden.

For more information, contact the WSU Communications Office at 507-457-5024.