An open letter: Anderson Prairie Elementary School Proposal

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Dear Dr. Molly McNicoll,

We, as student Senate, are writing to outline the strengths and weaknesses of leasing land from Anderson Prairie to the Decorah School system. The goal of this letter is to portray the view of the student body. These views were collated from individual conversations with students, the views expressed at the forum on Anderson Prairie on Feb. 16, and extensive research from the Student Life committee. After evaluating the proposal for the new elementary school we believe that it is in the student’s best interest to preserve the prairie.

The prairie currently serves as a research and recreational resource to students, faculty, staff, and people across the country. In the past five years over 30 different classes have utilized Anderson Prairie in their curriculum, including English, philosophy, and even Paideia classes. This resource also serves as an outdoor laboratory for research in botany, entomology, and ecology as well as introductory lab courses in Biology. The land is a destination for academic and faith-based organizations from across the country and in our own backyard.

It is important to note the environmental implications. Anderson Prairie plays a key role in Luther’s commitment to preserving the natural land that surrounds us. Luther’s mission statement says that Luther was “… founded where river, woodland, and prairie meet, we practice joyful stewardship of the resources that surround us …” By preserving Anderson Prairie, Luther College would be reaffirming its duty to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and maintain local biodiversity, while simultaneously protecting the local infrastructure from flooding.

Luther College and the Decorah community have long had a mutually beneficial relationship. While the community could benefit from having the new elementary school located in Anderson Prairie, such a decision would prioritize the interests of Decorah community members over Luther students, faculty, and staff.  There may be benefits to leasing the prairie; however,00 the advantages for students are greatly outweighed by the disadvantages. As we have outlined above, Anderson Prairie serves as a vital resource for academics, recreation, and protecting the environment.


Student Senate

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