Wheaton Montessori News
On Thursday, November 2nd, Wheaton Montessori School held its annual “Alumni Voices” night. Before the program began, Rebecca Lingo, Head of School, was able to announce the recent acquisition of additional property located directly behind the school.
From Rebecca Lingo, Head of School, Wheaton Montessori School during the “Alumni Voices” event:
“We have exciting news to share with all of you this evening and we’re glad to have you here for it!
The one-acre wetland behind the school is now ours! We closed on our purchase last week. This acquisition has been made possible by an extremely generous donation by the estate of Harold Muelfelt and his family.
It’s with great pride that Wheaton Montessori embarks on what I estimate to be a 10-15 year restoration plan. The clean-up and removal of invasive species will take an estimated three years. While this does not become a source of revenue for the school, we can feel very proud that we’re making a conscious effort toward protecting clean water in the immediate area, preserving an important aesthetic feature of our landscape and giving the students an experience and view of a quiet spot in the natural world.
An ethic of conservation, while not a specific “material” on our shelves, is certainly something we want for our children. We are excited for the learning opportunities this new enterprise brings to our staff as well as our students. We are pleased to have made this decision, and now your children will be able to make the investments of time, energy, and action to help our school restore an important area of our community.”
One grandparent reacted with gratitude that his grandchildren will be able to look out the windows of the school and see wetlands without the threat of development, hoping that it helps foster in his grandchildren an appreciation for the natural world. He’s especially happy that as the students enter elementary and junior high, the students will have a chance to explore the area and the native species living within.
Wheaton Montessori School officials have been interested in the wetlands property for several years. Recently, school officials met with members of the DuPage County Stormwater Management Department to discuss feasibility of cleaning up the property and maintaining it for community use. During this preliminary meeting with the DuPage County Stormwater Management Department, which oversees wetland conservation and education projects, Ms. Lingo was told by the meeting attendees: “This is a dream for our department – to have a non-profit coming in to concentrate on restoration and education, rather than development and building.”
The Department also echoed Mr. Barker’s suggestions for aggressive clean-up of invasive species, especially the Buckthorn trees growing throughout the property. Buckthorns, one of the most common invasive species in Illinois, soak up an immense amount of water, endangering natural wetland areas and wetland buffer zones.