Platte River Prairies Field Day – August 6, 2016

Our next Field Day at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies will be Saturday August 6.  We hope that by making it on a Saturday we will make it more accessible to families and people whose bosses don’t let them out of work on weekdays just to go hike around in prairies.  I hear there are jobs like that…

Bill Whitney (Prairie Plains Resource Institute) and his combine - harvesting grass seed at The Nature Conservancy's Derr Tract - Central Platte River, Nebraska.

We’re proud that Bill Whitney (Prairie Plains Resource Institute) will be on hand to talk about prairie restoration.  He is the godfather of prairie restoration in Nebraska and can tell you anything you want to know about the methods, history, and philosophy of restoration.

Please come out and join us.  We’ll have hikes and presentations on prairie ecology and management, prairie restoration (with Bill Whitney of Prairie Plains Resource Institute), prairie plant identification, and gardening with prairie plants.  You can also look for monarch butterfly adults and caterpillars and catch/learn about prairie insects.  Over lunch, I’ll give a brief presentation on prairie ecology with lots of photos.

There is no cost to attend – just bring your own lunch, bug spray, and sunscreen.  We’ll provide some snacks to eat and lots of wildflowers, insects, and birds to look at.

Click here to see the agenda and more information on the day.

Save the Date – Grassland Restoration Network in Nebraska September 13-14, 2016

The Grassland Restoration Network is a loose affiliation of people trying to use prairie restoration (reconstruction) as a way to rebuild, conserve and sustain grassland ecosystems.  Each year, we put on a workshop to share ideas, techniques, research results, and stories with other.  Workshops are hosted by a different site each year, giving us the opportunity to visit a range of projects over the years.

The next workshop will be hosted here in central Nebraska (near Grand Island) on September 13 and 14, 2016.  We’ll visit sites owned by both Prairie Plains Resource Institute and The Nature Conservancy (Platte River Prairies).  As always, we will compare notes on restoration techniques and we will look at a variety of plantings, from brand new to more then 20 years old.  In addition, however, we will talk about how to evaluate the success of restoration projects beyond simply counting plant species.  We will tour restored sites with a number of researchers who have helped us see whether we’re actually restoring ecological function at our Platte River Prairies – including whether or not we are defragmenting the landscape for a variety of insect and animal species.

Bill Kleiman (white hat) leads a tour of a restored prairie at The Nature Conservancy's Nachusa Grassland.

Bill Kleiman (white hat) leads a tour of a restored prairie at The Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Grassland during the 2014 Grassland Restoration Network workshop.

Grassland Restoration Network workshops typically include people from around the Central United States and beyond.  I hope you’ll consider attending this workshop to learn from others and contribute your ideas and experiences.  The cost will be kept as low as possible, and will probably include primarily food and lodging.

You can click on the following links to read reports from the last couple of workshops (2014, 2015) and to see a collection of lessons learned by network members.