Things are slowing down here at Conserve School somewhat with no students around for the summer, so I thought I’d share a little more of our area’s natural history. Conserve School is located just west of the town of Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin, and it’s called that for a reason – check out this satellite photo of the area courtesy of Google Maps:
Besides lakes, we also have a lot of bogs, as graduate fellow Leanna Jackan described last month. Both of these features are the legacy of the glaciers that blanketed this area 10,000 years ago. As the glaciers retreated, they carved out the kettle lakes that dot the area. Over time, however, the process of ecological succession – one type of natural community turning into another – transforms these lakes into something different. Mats of thick, absorbent Sphagnum moss begin to grow around the edges of the lakes, and sediment begins to fill in their bottoms, until eventually some lakes are converted into peat bogs.
The wet, acidic, low-oxygen soil of bogs creates habitat for a variety of unique plants, including carnivous pitcher plants and sundew as well as beautiful orchids like this grass-pink, photographed recently on Lake Elaine, one of the lakes here on campus.
This is just one of many unique natural habitats for students to explore here on our beautiful North Woods campus!
~Graduate Fellow Rebecca