Beginning in December 2019, USM began a woodland clearing and native species restoration project which will take three to five years to complete. The school has removed dead ash trees and invasive plant species like buckthrorn, honeysuckle, teasel, and thistle from approximately 45 acres of the campus, most visibly in the northeast section of campus along County Line Road and the North Drive.
Over the years, these invasive plants have taken over much of campus and inhibited the growth of native habitats. Once these invasive species are removed and prevented from regrowth, the areas we be planted with native species to restore and redevelop the native habitats within our campus. The change is dramatic, however replanting will soon follow in the months and years to come.
We view the redesign of the campus as a once in a generation opportunity, and as a result, we are taking great care to develop a master campus plan that will benefit the school community as well as our neighbors in River Hills and Mequon. To that end, we are enlisting guidance from consultants who will guide the redesign of our campus in alignment with our strategic plan, mission, and curricular goals.
USM is committed to outdoor education, and this restoration project is just one example of that commitment. As the result of contributions from a number of donors, several projects have sparked a renewal in the outdoors as a place to teach and learn. These include an outdoor classroom for Preschool students, the renovation of the Hamilton Greenhouse, a newly planted milkweed habitat for monarch butterflies, the expansion of gardens for bees, and the planting of 300 trees on the property. These projects are all providing the basis of habitat diversification on campus that students can explore, study, and enjoy.