A few years ago, Dr. Mary Ann McLean, associate professor of biology at StMU, was walking along the hill that runs behind McGivney Hall down to Bannister Road when she noticed something. Mixed in with the lawn grass growing on the slope were dozens of native plant species. This sparked an idea for a project to restore this land to a state that more closely resembles the sandgrass prairie that surrounds St. Mary’s University.

Now, that idea is becoming a reality, as three senior biology students take on this restoration as part of their capstone project. The project involves removing the non-native species present on the site and planting native prairie grasses and flowers in their place. This work can be continued and expanded for years to come, not just by biology students working on their capstone projects, but also as an education tool to teach about prairie ecosystems and the history of the land St. Mary’s University stands on.

Work is already underway through fundraising and weeding, and planting is set to begin next week. We will be adding blog posts weekly to keep the StMU community updated on the project’s progress, and ways to get involved with this work!


The prairie restoration team. Left to right: Teale Sargent, Bri-Anna Zabel, Dr. Mary Ann McLean, and Terri Bruneau.