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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Arb’s Agricultural Fields

<ir="ltr">Fall is a wonderful time for walking through the Arb; a cool breeze blows along the paths, the leaves are just beginning to turn, and you can hear the soothing honking of the Canada Geese as they fly overhead. While taking in all the sights and sounds the Arboretum has to offer, you may have noticed the agricultural fields in both the lower and upper Arb.

At first it seems strange that these fields can even be found in the Arboretum, but the Arb has a history of being used as farmland. In 1926, when the Cowling Arboretum was first proposed, almost the entire area was agricultural. Over the years constant removal of undesirable species and the planting of trees and prairies has made the Arb into what it is today.

The farmland at the northeast corner of the lower Arb was included in a larger purchase from the Peterson family farm in 2003. This purchase was made to protect the Kettle Hole Marsh and expand the Arb in general, but a stipulation of the agreement is that the college continues renting out some of the land for the Peterson family to farm for a period of time. This field is currently being cropped by the family, but will most likely be restored to native prairie one day.

The agricultural field behind the Rec and adjacent to the Softball and Baseball fields does not have such a certain future. This area, though adjacent to the upper Arb, is not actually included in the Arboretum. The college has not yet decided what to do with it, so it is rented out to local farmers for cropping. The large piles of dirt in this area are debris moved from the West Gym athletic fields after past flooding and extra topsoil from various construction projects. Storing this debris locally is more environmentally and economically appropriate as it will be used in later construction and is difficult to transport. A possible use of this land may be for new athletic fields that will not be affected by the Cannon River flooding.

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