One Square Meter of Prairie

Nature Conservancy - Science

What can be found in a square meter of prairie? You’ll be surprised. From the Field Natural History Plants Traveling Naturalist

Seeds of Change: Ensuring the Future for Healthy Prairies

Nature Conservancy - Science

For a healthy and resilient prairie, diverse seed sources are key. From the Field Climate Insects & Pollinators Plants TNC Science


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Recovery: Prairie Reprise

Nature Conservancy - Science

America has plowed, developed and otherwise destroyed or degraded vast expanses of native prairie. For generations prairies were seen as deficient in their lack of trees and dangerous in their flammability. Sterling Morton was so distressed by the paucity of trees that in 1870 he called forth “a grand army of husbandmen … to battle against the timberless prairies.” At least we’re no longer anti-prairie. But prairie vegetation evolved with grazing.

Recovery: Prairies Under the Sea

Nature Conservancy - Science

Seagrass restoration efforts around the globe are paying off for people and nature. From the Field Research Restoration

Schaefer Prairie Preserve Citizen Science

Nature Conservancy - Science

Morning dew on asters (Aster) at Schaefer Prairie. What is Schaefer Prairie Preserve Citizen Science Project? . Would you like to explore one of the remaining patches of eastern tallgrass prairie and contribute to science? If you live in Minnesota, then you will love the Schaefer Prairie Preserve Citizen Science Project. The early years of the project provide baseline data that can be used to track changes in the prairie over time.

Prairie Dogs and Black Widows

Nature Conservancy - Science

There’s a lot more going on in prairie dog towns than meets the eye. Wildlife Insects Mammals

Could Prairie Chickens Come Booming Back?

Nature Conservancy - Science

Prairie chickens were once so abundant in the Great Plains that they were hunted for the market and shipped by the trainload to New York City. Could prairie restoration bring them booming back? Birds & Birding From the Field Birding Birds Bison Fire Grasslands Native Plants Traveling Naturalist

2018 58

Tracking Little Turtles on the Prairie

Nature Conservancy - Science

What do you do if you only have 8 known Blanding’s turtles in the population you’re studying at Illinois’s Nachusa Grasslands Preserve? Get out the hoop traps and the sardines. From the Field NatureTech Wildlife Field Notes Herps Protected Areas Research Technology

Hope on the Prairie: The Black-Footed Ferret Returns to Colorado

Nature Conservancy - Science

Take, for instance, my recent experience helping reintroduce black-footed ferrets to their historic home on eastern Colorado’s prairie. Entirely dependent on prairie dogs for survival, ferrets were largely the unintended victim of widespread prairie dog extermination campaigns and introduced diseases. Training programs put young ferrets through prairie dog hunting “boot camps;” if they learn to hunt, they’ll be eligible for release.

Why Grassland Birds are Poor Indicators of Prairie Quality

Nature Conservancy - Science

Henslow’s sparrows are a bird of conservation concern and their presence in a prairie can be seen as a conservation success. However, although they tend to require fairly large prairies, and can indicate the presence of certain vegetation structure types, they don’t indicate whether or not a prairie has a diverse plant or insect community. First and foremost, species have to survive and reproduce in order to persist in a prairie.

Bison Bellows and Bones: Student-Scientists on the Prairie

Nature Conservancy - Science

Michelle Hulke (left) and Mary Joy Sun, student bison researchers from Gustavus Adolphus College, collect bones on the prairie to reassemble a bison skeleton. Ordway Prairie Preserve, students from Gustavus Adolphus College will soon be arriving to follow bison herds for the summer. Today, we’re running a previously published blog on last year’s student researchers at Ordway Prairie. Ordway Prairie Preserve , a 7,800-acre grassland property near Leola.

A Treasure Hunt for Prairie Wildflowers

Nature Conservancy - Science

The Tallgrass Aspen Parklands is on the northern edge of the tallgrass prairie. Only a small portion of prairie plants make it so far north. Further complicating matters is that human activities, such as farming, have destroyed most of the prairie, and have altered most of the rest. This leaves our prairie scientists with an interesting question: is a plant rare in the area due to the range issue, or is it rare due to the fact that people have made it a tough place to live?

Tracking a Secretive Snake on the Prairie

Nature Conservancy - Science

Researchers at the Chippewa Prairie in Minnesota are using radio telemetry to provide a better picture of the lives of one of the most secretive and little-known creatures of grasslands: the plains hog-nosed snake (also known as the western hog-nosed snake). Researchers are monitoring various wildlife to see how the species respond to the burning and grazing regime on the prairie. Researchers check cover boards for snakes at Chippewa Prairie. Big Snake on the Prairie.

To save bees, city plans 1,000 acres of prairie

Green (Living) Review

Midwest, one city in Iowa is launching an ambitious plan to rebuild their prairie habitat. " Some big changes are needed to solve a problem this big, like curbing the use of bee-killing insecticides, studying the threat of invasive varroa mites and restoring native prairies, whose wildflowers offer key bee habitat. As vital pollinators decline across the U.S. It's generally a bad time to be a bee in the United States.

2017 101

Bison, Pioneers of the Prairie, Return to Kankakee Sands

Nature Conservancy - Science

Over the past 20 years The Nature Conservancy in Indiana has been converting 6,700 acres of row-crop agriculture at Kankakee Sands into a diverse prairie. The goal – to restore key prairie habitat and connectivity for wildlife. In October of 2016, 23 bison from South Dakota were released on the prairie in Kankakee Sands. Related Articles. Conserving Bison in Indiana. Yes, Indiana. By Matt Miller. The Incredible Shrinking Bison, an Unexpected Impact of Climate Change.

2017 66

Zumwalt Prairie: Mountain Lions, Mountain Quail & More

Nature Conservancy - Science

A black bear stands amongst the expansive grasslands and canyons of Zumwalt Prairie Preserve. The Zumwalt Prairie of northeastern Oregon is one of those spectacular places where the large herds still roam, where big predators still stalk, where you never know what you might see on a hike. The Zumwalt Prairie is the largest remaining Palouse grassland in North America. You can view more Zumwalt Prairie photos on Flickr.

The Benefits of a Native Prairie Garden

Eco Friendly Daily

If your thoughts are turning to spring, you may want to consider planting a native prairie garden rather than one filled with exotic plants. One of the primary advantages of planting a native prairie garden is that your garden will be filled with flora that is adapted to your area’s specific conditions. Once a prairie garden is established, you should not water it. Prairie plants in the right location have a competitive edge over non-native plants.

Space Cowboys: A New Generation of Prairie Keepers

Nature Conservancy - Science

How many cows can you graze and maintain a healthy prairie? These are important questions for ranchers and scientists interested in sustainably supporting cattle and protecting prairie habitat for wildlife. That’s why The Nature Conservancy in Oregon is partnered with other private landowners, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the University of Idaho to use satellites to monitor vegetation cover on the Zumwalt Prairie.

2017 48

Product Review: Prairie Organic Spirits

Green Living Ideas

Green Living Ideas was recently sent some organic gin and cucumber vodka from Prairie Organics. Prairie is a truly sustainable company, working with land, farmers and community to create high-quality artisanal spirits. Based in Minnesota, Prairie Organics works with family farms to grow the highest quality corn to turn into lovely, flavorful gin and vodka. File under: I love my job.

Elk Antlers on the Prairie: A Shed Hunt to Benefit the Local Community

Nature Conservancy - Science

Rolling prairie dotted with beautiful wildflowers, with towering snow-capped peaks in the background. I’m at The Nature Conservancy’s Zumwalt Prairie Preserve in northeast Oregon for what has become an annual event: a search for antlers shed by bull elk each spring. Lots of Elk on the Prairie. Zumwalt Prairie: Mountain Lions, Mountain Quail & More. Typical scenery at the Conservancy’s Zumwalt Prairie Preserve in Oregon. Antlers on the prairie.

2016 58

The Yucca and its Moth

Nature Conservancy - Science

Read more of Chris Helzer’s writings at The Prairie Ecologist blog, where this post originally appeared. . Insects Plants Science Chris Helzer Chris Helzer Nature Conservancy Grasslands moth pollinators moths natural history Niobrara Valley Preserve pollinators prairie prairie ecologist prairie ecology prairie insects prairie natural history prairie plants prairie science yucca

Climate Change and the Future of Bison

Nature Conservancy - Science

The climate of Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Oklahoma is 17°F hotter than at Cross Ranch in North Dakota. For example, a 7-year old male bison at Ordway Prairie in South Dakota weighs, on average, 1,900 lbs. To understand how hotter climates are likely to affect bison, researcher Joe Craine recently led a study that synthesized weights of bison from Nature Conservancy herds as well as a number of other federal, state and private herds. Photo: Matt Miller/TNC.

Spring’s Top 10 Wildlife Spectacles

Nature Conservancy - Science

Six species of prairie grouse – greater and lesser prairie chickens , greater and Gunnison sage grouse , and sharp-tailed grouse – display in flat, open areas, offering excellent viewing. North America has a great diversity of ground squirrels and other members of the squirrel family: 66 species including tree squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks, marmots and prairie dogs. The Conservancy has bison on a dozen preserves across many prairie states.

Endangered black-footed ferret is successfully cloned


The Service sought the expertise of valued recovery partners to help us explore how we might overcome genetic limitations hampering recovery of the black-footed ferret, and we’re proud to make this announcement today,” said Noreen Walsh, director of USFWS, Mountain-Prairie Region.

A McMansion Builder Tries Zero Energy Building

Green Living Ideas

Like many a true business breakthrough, Prairie Ridge Homes, a new subdivision of net zero energy homes, grew out of disaster. Tags: Green Building/Remodeling building subdivisions greenbuilding Illinois Jim Regan McMansions net zero energy New Lenox Phil Regan Prairie Ridge Homes The traditional builder, Phil Reagan of saw a sharp drop-off in buyers of his traditional McMansion-model subdivisions after the worst recession since the depression.

2010 74

How Wildflowers Benefit the Ecosystem

Eco Friendly Daily

The United States has lost 97 per cent of lowland semi-natural grassland alone, to say nothing of other types of grasslands and prairies. The ideal is the well manicured lawn rather than the plant-rich prairie. Environment biodiversity grasslands prairies To some people, a field of wildflowers is a jumbled mess that needs weeding or a good brush fire. To others, it is a thing of beauty and an ecosystem alive with buzzing bees and fluttering butterflies.

A Commitment to Nature: Legacy Club Celebrates 20 Years

Cool Green Science

We were enjoying a hike in the Arizona mountains, soaking up the rugged beauty of Arizona’s Hart Prairie Preserve , when she turned to me and said: “This is why I’m a Legacy Club member. Image: Legacy Club members at Arizona''s Hart Prairie Preserve. Biodiversity Featured Post 1 The Nature Conservancy United States Arizona bequest conservationists estate plan future generations generations hart prairie preserve legacy legacy club life-income gift member nature nature preserv

Rare Butterflies Return Home

Nature Conservancy - Science

This summer 200 federally threatened Dakota skippers emerged as butterflies and were reintroduced to a Minnesota prairie. From the Field Wildlife Endangered Species Grasslands Insects Pollinators Restoration

2017 73

A McMansion Builder Tries Zero Energy Building

Green Living Ideas

Like many a true business breakthrough, Prairie Ridge Homes, a new subdivision of net zero energy homes, grew out of disaster. Tags: Green Building/Remodeling building subdivisions greenbuilding Illinois Jim Regan McMansions net zero energy New Lenox Phil Regan Prairie Ridge Homes The traditional builder, Phil Reagan of saw a sharp drop-off in buyers of his traditional McMansion-model subdivisions after the worst recession since the depression.

2010 40

The Death of ‘Green’ and Plan B for Science Communications

Nature Conservancy - Science

If you’re successful within a group blog, the next step is to start your own blog like The Prairie Ecologist by the Conservancy’s Chris Helzer or Corey Bradshaw’s Conservation Bytes — both have vigorous and growing niche audiences. Image credit: JoshuaDavisPhotography/Flickr through a Creative Commons license. Bob Lalasz is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy.

Sustainable Spring Coats for Times of Transition

Eco Chic

The Moth Raincoat from Prairie Underground serves to keep you both warm and dry. Fair Fashion antiform coats eco fashion jackets Nau prairie underground spring sustainableSpring! Where one day you need just a light jacket (or heavy sweater) and the next you’re pulling your winter coat out—again. It’s a time to be prepared with something perfectly kick-ass that is both comfortable and warm enough, but still has plenty of style.

Get Inspired with Sweatshop-Free, Sustainable Spring 2014 Eco Fashion

Eco Chic

This one in organic cotton Body Armor vest from Prairie Underground will wear for years; I’m still wearing the first hoodie I bought from the company almost 5 years ago. Fair Fashion 2014 Dolan dresses eco fashion feral childe Gudrun Sjödén Lina Rennell organic cotton prairie underground silk spring Tencel I know we are all SO ready for spring this year! And it’s officially April (I can hear everyone out there breathing a sigh of relief; FINALLY!).

2014 50

Follow the Cow that Follows the Burn

Nature Conservancy - Science

A cow is fitted with a GPS collar to monitor its hourly movements on the Chippewa Prairie. At the Chippewa Prairie in Minnesota , conservationists are using GPS tracking to gain a better understanding of how an important animal moves on the grassland: Cows. In this case, the cows are collared to learn their hourly movements, to see how they graze and move across a 2400-acre prairie. It’s one of the largest and most intact native prairies in the state.

Can You Ever Have Too Many Turkeys?

Nature Conservancy - Science

Citizen science provides opportunities to answer essential questions about how people — and the non-native species we've introduced — affect oak savannas, prairies and streams. Birds & Birding Citizen Science Birding Birds Try This

2018 43

Conserving Bison in Indiana. Yes, Indiana.

Nature Conservancy - Science

Historically, bison roamed the Indiana prairie, although likely in small, residential herds in contrast to the huge, migratory bison of the Great Plains. Native habitat hasn’t fared much better in the state: More than 99 percent of Indiana’s prairies have been lost to agriculture, development and lack of healthy fire. Since 1996, the Conservancy and partners have been working to restore a significant slice of prairie at Kankakee Sands.

Where Does Your Wind Energy Come From and Is It Really ‘Green’?

Cool Green Science

good for a productive wind farm) are often the very same lands that have the best remaining large expanses of prairie habitat. Almost three-quarters of the breeding bird species in the United States rely on the prairies of the Great Plains. It’s imperative that we reverse this decline by conserving the prairies that still remain. Renewable energy is an important part of our energy future.

2016 74

The Promise and Peril of Wild Seed Harvesting

Nature Conservancy - Science

Tracking a Secretive Snake on the Prairie. Why Grassland Birds are Poor Indicators of Prairie Quality. One of the best examples of entire-landscape restoration is The Nature Conservancy’s tallgrass prairie Glacial Ridge Project , found in northwest Minnesota atop the remnants of the ancient lakeshore of Glacial Lake Agassiz. Only a few years ago Glacial Ridge was a patchwork of mostly farm land and a few prairie remnants. Glacial Ridge prairie landscape.

2016 59

Recovery: Hope for Black-Footed Ferrets, One of Our Most Endangered Mammals

Nature Conservancy - Science

Inside the cement-lined ferret room a young male tensed in a wood-and-wire cage, fixed us with bright eyes, then dove into a drain pipe that mimicked a prairie dog burrow. Black-footed ferrets peek out from a pipe that mimicks a prairie dog burrow. The Prairie Dog Connection. At least 150 vertebrates benefit from prairie dogs. The black-footed ferret, which preys on prairie dogs and inhabits their burrows, can’t live without them.

2016 63

Can Grasslands, The Ecosystem Underdog, Play an Underground Role in Climate Solutions?

Nature Conservancy - Science

My favorite baseball teams, the Royals and the Cubs, reminded us of this over the last two years, and prairies (the underdog in the world series of ecosystems) proved this again recently in an analysis demonstrating that grasslands have a role to play in our climate change solutions (Ahlering et al. Goldenrod at the Nature Conservancy’s Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie. Prairie and grassland enthusiasts take heart. Prairies will have their day in the sun.

2017 85

Reintroduction Program Succeeding For Black-Footed Ferret

Eco Friendly Daily

The ferret was released near a prairie dog colony as prairie dogs compose the majority of their diet. Black-footed ferrets dwindled in numbers in the 1900s as the prairie dog population across the country declined. The decline of the prairie dogs have been largely attributed to human actions, such as hunting and poisoning the prairie dogs. However, with the eradication of prairie dogs came the side effect of annihilating their predators.

Bison Return to Nachusa: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Reintroduction

Nature Conservancy - Science

And bison once did roam the Illinois prairie. the prairie is restored. Staff and volunteers have worked for years to restore and connect native prairie at Nachusa. Illinois has less than one-tenth of one percent of its original prairie. Nachusa did have tallgrass prairie remnants, but not enough to sustain a substantial bison herd. Native prairie needs disturbance in the form of fire and grazing.

2014 83

Connecting with Nature in Texas City

Cool Green Science

An array of volunteers, including major donors and advisory board members, Girl and Boy Scout troops, master naturalists and members of the business community, spent the morning scouring a little over two miles of Texas City Prairie Preserve (TCPP) as part of Conservancy’s inaugural Adopt-A-Beach cleanup. Being a part of something bigger than just Texas City Prairie Preserve made it feel even more important to our volunteers.”

2017 58

Solar Eclipse Expedition 2017

Nature Conservancy - Science

Platte River Prairies. Showy evening primrose (Oenothera rhombipetala) in restored prairie at the Derr Tract of Platte River Prairies, Nebraska. Notable Features: The Platte River Preserve will be hosting an “ Eclipse on the Prairie ” event for members. Participants will then hike out to the prairie to enjoy the eclipse. The preserve boasts 1,500 acres of highly diverse prairie, complete with a broad palette of wildflowers. Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.

2017 64