Prairie Smoke News and Events
Saturday, June 22, 2013, Annual Parsnip Pull & Potluck at Whitewater State Park (volunteer work day sponsored by Whitewater State Park).
Leader: Steve Poole, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-839-1272
Registration at 9:00 a.m. Parsnip Potluck about 4:30 p.m.
Difficulty: A work day! Volunteers will assist by pulling wild parsnips from heavy use areas in the park. (The park will provide rubber gloves.) Over the last several years volunteers have pulled parsnip from campsites in the park and last summer showed a dramatic drop (more than 80%) in the number of parsnip plants pulled at those sites. Working together, we can slow the spread of this invasive plant at Whitewater State Park. Volunteers are asked to bring a shovel and to wear long sleeve shirts and pants tucked into long socks. A hat, sunglasses and water bottle are also recommended. This will be a fun social event, with a pot-luck style dinner to follow, so you are asked to bring a dish to pass. Parsnip root dishes are especially encouraged! Meeting Location: Request from email@example.com, or call (507) 932 3007 X 226
Saturday, June 29, 2013, Johnson Sand Savanna
Trip Leader: Jaime Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Meeting time: 10:00 a.m.
Meeting Location: Parking lot of Vinegar Ridge State Forest Unit on Cty 26 in Houston County. This site is privately owned. The easy-to-walk property has a sand prairie that transitions into a sandy oak savanna and then into a bluff prairie. The sand prairie was burned for the first time in Oct 2012 and the savanna had all the understory invasives removed during the winter of 2012/2013. The bluff will undergo restoration in winter 2013. This is a great opportunity to see the emerging plants of a savanna restoration.
Meeting Location: From Rushford, take E Park St going east, right on Cty 26. Follow this to River Dr. Go right on River Drive. Stay on this road until you hit the State Forest Parking Lot on the right. (From Houston, go to Rushford on Hwy 16, then take the same route out of Rushford.)
Sunday, July 14, 2013, Paul Gruchow Memorial Prairie in Elba MN
Trip Leader: Check Kernler, email@example.com (507-226-3079)
Time: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
This privately owned site is a former sandpit! It is a fantastic demonstration of what nature can do with only a little coaxing. On this flat and easy walk in a sand prairie we will see summer flowers and the historic stone house . We should be able to see butterfly weed and other survivors of the sand prairie. The tour will include a view of the historic Kieffer-Hemmelberg House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Elba Firetower is nearby, open to the public, and you may choose to climb it, after the tour. Paul Gruchow was a celebrated essayist, with a wonderful insight into the natural world, who tragically took his own life in 2004.
Meeting Location: 14437 County Road 26: One mile East of Elba, Minnesota, on Winona County Road 26. DO NOT rely on GPS, as it will take you to Wabasha County!
July 18-20, Iowa Prairie Conference, Luther College, Decorah, IA. "Prairies on the Edge"
This year's Iowa Prairie Conference is close by. The conference includes presentations, educational sessions, and field trips. Go to the Iowa Prairie Conference website for registration and more information.
Sunday, July 21, 2013, TPE Annual Membership Meeting and Picnic, River Falls, WII
There will be a board meeting in the morning and field trips to local oak savannas. The host chapter, St. Croix Valley, has reserved the shelter at Glen Park. Maps and details will be posted on the website in June. The chapter will provide meat and buns, two side dishes, and beverages. Attendees are asked to bring a side dish to share, plate and silverware.
For those looking for more excitement, come up Saturday. You can camp at Willow River State Park or stay at a lodge along the Kinnickinnic River. See you in July, and let's hope for temperatures below 100 degrees.
Do you have an idea for a field trip? If so, please contact Prairie Smoke Field Trip Coordinator, Dawn Littleton, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top 10 Tallgrass Prairie Facts
Jeff Nielsen of BWSR sends in the following facts on tallgrass prairie, compiled by Minnesota DNR:
1. Native tallgrass is the MOST ENDANGERED ecosystem in North America and the foundation of PERENNIAL POLYCULTURE. Kansas University
2. Native prairie root systems are the BEST natural soil anchors on earth.
3. In one acre of established prairie there is 24,000 pounds of roots. Iowa State University
4. One acre of established prairie can ABSORB 9 inches of rainfall per hour before runoff occurs. University of Northern Iowa
5. One acre of established prairie will INTERCEPT as much as 53 tons of water during a one inch per hour rain event. University of Nebraska, Lincoln
6. Prairie foliage represents a surface area of 5 to 20 times larger than the soil area beneath it. University of Nebraska, Lincoln
7. Prairie planted in roadside ditches makes highways safer by INCREASING the holding capacity for snow in the ditch provided the shoulder is mowed. MDOT.
8. Natural competition of prairie plants REDUCES the occurrence of weeds in an area. Iowa State University
9. Greater prairie diversity, creates biotic barriers to PREVENT weed invasion. University of Minnesota
10. One acre of reconstructed prairie can produce more bioenergy than land used to grow corn for ethanol. University of Minnesota