UW-L student to restore nature at landfill

Eagle-eye view of the Green Tier landfill.

The Green Tier Landfill is located at 6500 State Road 16, in La Crosse. Christa Booman, a UW-L Environmental Studies minor, is looking for volunteers to help her restore nature at the landfill as part of her capstone project in an Integrative Seminar in Environmental Studies class.

Site looks to partner with other educators to understand natural resource

UW-L student Christa Booman is helping turn a La Crosse County landfill back into a natural resource the community can enjoy.

For a senior capstone class, Booman is organizing a Landfill BioBlitz or biological inventory of the Green Tier Landfill, located at 6500 State Road 16, in La Crosse, east of Woodman’s.

She is recruiting environmental naturalists and any other outdoor enthusiasts who can help her identify as many different species of birds, plants, trees, amphibians, reptiles, animals and fungi as possible at the 350-acre landfill. The BioBlitz will be from dawn until dusk Saturday, April 26, at the site.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to help protect precious land and participate in making better decisions for the environment,” she says.

Nick Nichols, La Crosse County sustainability coordinator, says the public has a perception of a landfill as a giant heap of garbage, but only five acres of the 350-acre Green Teir Landfill is open to accept garbage at any one time. Sections that have been filled are continually being capped and restored to grassland and trees.

“We have an absolutely beautiful site and a valuable natural resource out here,” says Nichols. “We want to find out what we can do to restore the site to what it was before we showed up.”

Nichols said the landfill staff would like to form more partnerships with educators who could use the property as a living laboratory. Collaborations like this help educate students. Also, they can help landfill staff understand the plants and animals that should be protected, what invasive species are destroying natural habitat and how proceed with restoration.

“We absolutely love having students out here,” says Nichols. “We are looking for any level of help to understand what we have and explain that value to the rest of the community.”

Booman says her project provides an opportunity to experience nature up close. She hopes such work will also foster more appreciation for the potential of the landfill site. A hiking and biking trail system is already in the works on a section of restored land with a goal of extending it throughout the landfill.

“I like to be able to interact and network with people about the environment and spread the word about its importance to us, as well as inspire others to be passionate about keeping our planet healthy,” she says.

For more information or to sign up contact Booman at booman.chri@uwlax.edu; Nick Nichols at nnichols@lacrossecounty.orgor or Cole Lewis at clewis04199@viterbo.edu