2015 Grassland Restoration Network Workshop July 21-23, 2015

The 2015 Grassland Restoration Network Workshop is coming up in just a few weeks.  This year’s workshop will be located at Moorhead State University’s Regional Science Center and The Nature Conservancy’s Bluestem Prairie near Hawley, Minnesota.  As with previous workshops, this one will focus on both the nuts and bolts of converting cropland to high-diversity prairie and broader issues regarding how to make prairie restoration as effective as possible from a landscape conservation perspective.  This year, we will be visiting a range of interesting restoration sites, including The Nature Conservancy’s Bluestem Prairie and Glacial Ridge Project, Prairie Restoration Inc.’s Bluestem Farm, and several federal and state restoration projects in northwestern Minnesota.  It should be a great opportunity to learn from the successes and challenges faced by people restoring prairie in that part of the country.  I’m really looking forward to it.

Soils tour during the 2014 Grassland Restoration Network Conference at The Nature Conservancy's Nachusa Grasslands Preserve in Illinois.
Soils tour during the 2014 Grassland Restoration Network Conference at The Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Grasslands Preserve in Illinois.

Registration has been limited to keep numbers manageable for tours, but there are slots available if you’re interested in joining us this year.  You can see the agenda and registration information here.

I hope to see you in northwest Minnesota next month!


2014 Patch-Burn Grazing Meeting – Platte River Prairies, Nebraska

Curious about patch-burn grazing?  Want to get together with other grassland enthusiasts, ranchers, researchers, and wildlife managers and talk about a variety of ways to manage for diverse wildlife habitats and plant communities?  The annual Patch-Burn Grazing Meeting might just be for you.

A photo from the field tour of the 2013 Patch-Burn Grazing meeting in South Dakota/Minnesota.

This is an annual, and informal, gathering held at a different location each year.  This year, we get to host it here at the Platte River Prairies, so we’ll be sharing some of what we’ve learned (successes and failures) about managing prairies with various combinations of fire, grazing, haying, and other tools.  Discussion topics will also include potential differences between how patch-burn grazing works in southern vs. northern grasslands, whether/how it might work on Nebraska sandhills ranches, alternate methods for creating habitat diversity besides “traditional” patch-burn grazing, and some practical issues such as figuring stocking rate and dealing with livestock health issues.

The meeting will be held August 13 and 14 in Grand Island, Nebraska, with a tour on the 14th of our Platte River Prairies just to the west.  There is no registration fee, but food and lodging will be at your own expense.  If you’re interested in attending, you can see the agenda for the meeting here and the registration form here.  Registration is due July 20.


The Annual Grassland Restoration Network Workshop – Coming to A Prairie Near You (If You’re Near Columbia, Missouri)

The Grassland Restoration Network is a loose affiliation of those of us 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. 

Kicking the dirt together helps us better understand challenges and strategies being employed at each others’ sites, but also stimulates better discussions than when we’re sitting in a sterile hotel conference room.  The workshops tend to minimize lectures and maximize both formal and informal discussion time.  I missed the 2012 workshop, but you can read my posts about the 2011 workshop in Indiana by clicking here.

A field discussion at the 2009 Grassland Restoration Network in Nebraska.
Bill Whitney, of Prairie Plains Resource Institute, leads a field discussion during the 2009 Grassland Restoration Network in Nebraska.

This year’s workshop will be hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation in Columbia, Missouri from July 16-18.  If you are interested in attending, you can download the preliminary agenda and registration information by clicking here

In addition, you can follow the activities of the Grassland Restoration Network on our new blog/website, initiated by Bill Kleiman, at Nachusa Grasslands.  That link is here.