Controlled burn of campus prairies

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Date: April 4, 2013

Photographer: Jodi H. Beyeler

The campus was ablaze, but all was well. For the first time, several acres were burned (south of the Newcomer Center and the retention pond area by the athletic complex) as part of a management plant to establish the prairie and control non-native weeds. The controlled burn was led by Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Ryan Sensenig, with assistance from biology student assistants and Sustainability Coordinator Glenn Gilbert. The fire department was on hand, as well as a few curious observers who gave standing ovations for the rabbits as they escaped the flames and ran for their lives.

In recent years, Goshen College has restored 12 acres of lawn to native landscaping (only part of this was burned today). In order to promote this native landscape, it is very helpful to simulate naturally occurring fires. For more background on this project, read this.