Members of Deerfield Boy Scout Troop 88 donned their boots and spent a Saturday morning planting native perennial plant seeds recently at the Deerfield solar array site. The scouts were making an investment in the ecology and sustainability of their community and also expressing their gratitude to Cal and Laurie Couillard for their generous donations to the Village of Deerfield and the Boy Scout Troop.
The Couillards donated the solar infrastructure on the land owned by the Village of Deerfield. The Couillard’s also donated the solar array that was recently installed on the roof of the Deerfield High School. Along with these gifts to the Village of Deerfield, the Couillards also recently donated solar power generation equipment to the Deerfield Boy Scout Troop 88 to be installed on their troop trailer.
The numerous species of native perennial grasses, sedges, rushes, and wildflowers the scouts planted will require two-three years to fully-establish. When these species reach maturity they will have deep (up to 12 feet) and complex root systems which will provide a number of ecosystem services and site improvements. Currently surface water ponds on the site due to compacted clay soils, poor grading conditions, and shallow-rooted turf grass. The deep-rooted native vegetation will loosen the soil and will improve surface water drainage. The numerous species of native perennial wildflowers will also provide excellent habitat for a wide array of pollinating insects. The native vegetation will require far less maintenance than turf grass, adhering to the overall sustainability model of the project.
The solar site will also allow a local space for Boy Scouts to complete conservation and community service inputs for rank advancements and merit badge requirements. The sun will charge the solar cells and the prairie plants for decades to come.