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? Regular fires keep prairies healthy.

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. At least we’re no longer anti-prairie. Bison on Ordway Prairie.

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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.

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

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 is the largest remaining Palouse grassland in North America. One of the preserve’s conservation goals is to increase the abundance of aspen and shrub stands.

Bison Good, Cattle Bad? A Prairie Ecologist’s Perspective

Nature Conservancy - Science

By Chris Helzer , prairie ecologist. Among some prairie enthusiasts, there seems to be a perception that plains bison are magical creatures that live in complete harmony with the prairie. The other beef prairie enthusiasts have with cattle (sorry) has to do with their diet.

A Treasure Hunt for Prairie Wildflowers

Nature Conservancy - Science

We are looking for seeds of native plants to sow on our preserves. 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. A combine harvesting prairie seed for planting.

The Yucca and its Moth

Nature Conservancy - Science

he yucca moth (Tegeticulla yuccasella) on soapweed yucca at The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve in north-central Nebraska. Read more of Chris Helzer’s writings at The Prairie Ecologist blog, where this post originally appeared. .

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.

A Commitment to Nature: Legacy Club Celebrates 20 Years

Conservancy Talk

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.

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. But for your spring bison trip, why not head to a Conservancy preserve?

Conserving Bison in Indiana. Yes, Indiana.

Nature Conservancy - Science

This fall, the shaggy beasts will be reintroduced to Kankakee Sands , a Nature Conservancy preserve in southern Indiana. The Nature Conservancy has an extensive bison conservation program, with herds now found on 13 preserves. But planting prairie plants is just one part of restoration.

Tech Titans Help Protect Last Perfect Place In California

Conservancy Talk

The site will connect more than 125,000 acres of protected land—undisturbed coastal habitat, huge expanses of estuaries, coastal prairie, grasslands and oak forests—that have long-existed in their natural, wild state.

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Field Notes: A Bison Herd Without Raging Bulls?

Nature Conservancy - Science

Ordway Prairie Preserve in South Dakota. The effort began as an animal behavior project to study rutting bulls, but conservationists realized that the lessons learned could help better manage bison on fenced preserves – where most bison roam today.

Solar Eclipse Expedition 2017

Nature Conservancy - Science

Here’s a guide to viewing opportunities, including Nature Conservancy preserves where you can catch the spectacle in beautiful surroundings. You are welcome to visit several Nature Conservancy preserves that fall in the path of totality during the eclipse. Platte River Prairies.

2017 87

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.

Science at Emiquon: Restoring a “Wetland of Dreams”

Nature Conservancy - Science

Today, hundreds of thousands of coots and other waterfowl flock to Emiquon Preserve. It’s now Emiquon Preserve , a 6,600-acre project on the Illinois River that is one of the largest floodplain restoration projects in the Midwest. Just eight years ago, this was a cornfield.

Does Snow Burn?

Conservancy Talk

The area we intended to burn was along the Niobrara River just east of Valentine, Nebraska, near the Conservancy’s own Niobrara Valley Preserve. Travel with our students to the Conservancy’s Broxton Rocks Preserve in Georgia to find out.

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Connecting with Nature in Texas City

Conservancy Talk

The beach cleanup resulted in “reduced hazards to wildlife from fishing line and other debris, plastics and other trash removed from ocean waters and improved aesthetics of the preserve’s shoreline.” Texas City Prairie Preserve steward Tim O’Connell celebrates the day’s haul.

Texas 101

WPAs: America’s Duck Factories

10,000 Birds

The Prairie Pothole Region of the United States—about 100,000 square miles of the northern Great Plains—is characterized by depressions or basins created retreating glaciers. FWS calls WPAs the “Prairie Jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System.”. Jason A.

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.

2014 112

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

Conservancy Talk

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.

Camera Traps Chronicle Restoration Success at Davis Bend

Nature Conservancy - Science

At times conservation professionals talk about devastating, catastrophic wildfires that are destroying vast swaths of forest and at other times they talk about prescribed or controlled fires that can keep forests and prairies healthy and diverse.

2017 83

Our Favorite Road Trip Destinations

Conservancy Talk

We packed into a van and made a road trip out to Ebey’s Landing , a Nature Conservancy preserve that offers sweeping views of Puget Sound and both the Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges. Today in the Prairie State, only one tenth of one percent of this important habitat remains.

2016 83

Experiencing New York’s High Line revision

Green Prophet

Gotham’s green foliage projects in large urban communities like New York City and Chicago, not only produce year around vegetables ; but also help preserve vestiges of former wild pastoral glory.

You Never Know What You’ll Find in Kansas

10,000 Birds

The sun was setting fast as my mom and I left Council Grove, Kansas, after a delicious steak dinner and a three hour expedition across the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

Kansas 147

Celebrating the Native American Heritage

Green Home Blog

Many times, rather than tearing up an entire acre to grow their crops, Native Americans carved out three-foot areas of prairie sod and planted seeds in that. Celebrating the Native American Heritage. Totem Pole They were the first Americans, and they lived lightly on the land.

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The Incredible Shrinking Bison, an Unexpected Impact of Climate Change

Nature Conservancy - Science

Bison have recovered – a remarkable success – but the animals are now scattered in much smaller herds on national parks, nature preserves and ranches. Bison Bellows and Bones: Student-Scientists on the Prairie. Of course, small preserves can complicate the picture. “We

A Summer of Flowering Spurge

Conservancy Talk

I took that advice to heart, and this year, I added “flowering spurge” to the mental checklist of prairie natives I can recognize on sight. On one day, we were doing a butterfly survey and I had to walk through prairie plants as tall as me, and it was hard.

2017 105

eBird and Urban Planning: City Green Spaces

10,000 Birds

In addition to being one of the largest cities in America, Chicago sits in the transition zone between the eastern deciduous forests and prairies of the Midwest.

2020 185

Recovery: Ranching Gone Right

Nature Conservancy - Science

Still another cites as a “myth” that “profitable livestock production and ecological preservation can coexist.”. And all ranchers, green and otherwise, preserve open space from sub-division. Recovery: Prairie Reprise. Space Cowboys: A New Generation of Prairie Keepers.

2017 91

Endangered Birds: 50th Anniversary for the Class of 1967

10,000 Birds

Before the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), there was the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966. Attwater’s Greater Prairie-Chicken – Tympanuchus cupido attwateri.

2017 140

Not All Bioenergy is Carbon Neutral

Conservancy Talk

At Ellsworth Creek Preserve in Washington state, TNC is working with Willapa National Wildlife Refuge to preserve old-growth forests, including removing trees in second growth forest to prevent wildfires.

2018 94

Recovery: Saving American Burying Beetles, Nature’s Undertakers

Nature Conservancy - Science

In southwest Missouri beetle reintroduction has been happening for five years on The Nature Conservancy’s Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie. One of the beetle’s strongholds is the Conservancy’s 39,000-acre Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in northern Oklahoma.

2016 84

The Skeleton Revealed: Vertebrates As You’ve Never Seen Them Before

Nature Conservancy - Science

I once met some student bison researchers who were attempting to assemble a full bison skeleton from isolated bones they found during their daily forays on a prairie preserve.

2017 80

The Best Places to See 10 Iconic American Animals

Nature Conservancy - Science

A spectacular place to see the great herds on beautiful prairie is at the Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The boardwalk at the Big Cypress National Preserve Visitor Center along the Tamiami Trail offers perfect photographic opportunities.

2015 114

Elk in the Neighborhood: On Conservation and Lost Hope

Nature Conservancy - Science

Elk Antlers on the Prairie: A Shed Hunt to Benefit the Local Community. Since large mammals had no hope, they would preserve them as taxidermy specimens, so that the public could see the animals that once roamed the mountains and prairies.

2017 102

Indigos Return: A Florida Breeding Program Raises Eastern Indigo Snakes for Reintroduction

Nature Conservancy - Science

Next year, this little snake and 19 others here at the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation (OCIC) will be the first indigo snakes ever reintroduced to Florida, at The Nature Conservancy’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve. Tracking a Secretive Snake on the Prairie.

How Can We Prevent or Reverse Desertification and Save Lands from Desert Encroachment?


There is a difference between the reasons why desertification happens in the Sahel or in Canadian Prairies. Large herds of wild herbivores have always been grazing on prairies, steppes, savannahs, naturally maintaining and rejuvenating world’s grasslands for thousands of years.

2019 73

How Can You Help Prevent and Control Soil Erosion?


The best plants for erosion control are native plants with deep roots, such as native prairie grasses like blue wildrye or purple needle grass, wildflowers, and woody perennials, like trees and shrubs. Planting trees goes a long way in preserving soil and ecosystem health.

2019 75

The Giving Birders: Are They Out There?

10,000 Birds

Private property holders with prairie/agricultural land can potentially make a big difference in maintaining and recovering populations of many of these charismatic species. Mountain Plover and many other grassland birds have populations in steep decline.

2013 197

Birding Puerto Rico’s Humacao Nature Reserve

10,000 Birds

Though the preserve doesn’t officially open until later in the morning you can access it before opening hours by walking the path on the other side of the canal from the entrance.

Follow That Curlew: Radio Tracking a Mysterious Migration

Nature Conservancy - Science

A long-billed curlew among Flat Ranch Preserve’s wildflowers. While nesting on shortgrass prairies, long-billed curlews are not difficult to spot. During my preserve visits over the years, the curlews have been hard to miss. But what happens when they leave the preserve?

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