Ecological Feature in Aullwood Garden MetroPark
Marie Aull, true to her conservationist nature, became interested in prairies as a rapidly vanishing ecosystem in the state of Ohio. Perhaps this interest was stoked by friend Paul B. Sears, American ecologist and writer known for his study of fossil pollen and as Chair of the graduate Conservation program at Yale University (1950-60). The Conservation program produced students of note: Paul Shepard and Estella Leopold (daughter of Aldo Leopold).
"In the middle of the summer people have been to the garden and said, 'oh, how lovely,' and I told them to go up and look at the prairie. That is real beauty. When the queen of the prairie is there I can just rave over that, and of course gentian just do something to me," Marie said.
This now 3-acre prairie has fulfilled Marie's goal. It is a hub for seasonal birds and many butterflies. The prairie is burned periodically by MetroParks staff to control weeds and to invigorate the soil for improved plant health.
The name Marie Aull has become almost synonymous with efforts to preserve and protect the natural environment in the Dayton region. The waving tall grasses of the prairie are a lasting tribute to Marie's desire to preserve natural areas.
"Few people, if any, have had a greater influence in educating Miami Valley citizens to love, respect and cherish the treasures in their own backyard and to plan for a future of natural areas conservation." -- Irvin G Bieser Jr., longtime MetroParks Commissioner