By Katie Pohlman
Bison, prairie flowers and birds, oh my! Those are some of the native flora and fauna that participants could see during Prairie Days, a two-day event that includes nature walks, conservation talks and optional camping opportunities in northwest Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is partnering with The Nature Conservancy and other groups to host the event, a celebration of Missouri’s prairies, on June 26 and 27.
Prairies use to cover roughly 1.4 million square miles, but now only one to two percent of the original grasslands still exist.
Prairie Days will begin with a talk about prairie history and grassland management projects at 8 a.m. Friday, June 26 at The Nature Conservancy’s Dunn Ranch Prairie, 1670 W. 150th St., Hatfield, MO. The talk will be followed by movies shown at dusk, including Blooming Secrets and Missouri’s Tall Grass Prairie: An American Original.
Saturday’s events will start early with a birding hike at 5:30 a.m. at MDC’s Pawnee Prairie Natural Area, 143rd Ave., Hatfield, MO. Participants will need to bring their own binoculars, cameras and field guides for the hike.
Other activities on Saturday’s schedule are:
- Tours of The Nature Conservancy’s bison heard and discussions about bison’s role in prairie ecology at the Dunn Ranch Prairie.
- Educational sessions on plant identification, grazing nutrition, prairie headwaters, rare prairie species, pollinators, reptiles and amphibians, fire ecology and mammals of the prairie.
- The Missouri Prairie Foundation, Missouri River Bird Observatory, Pure Air Natives, Inc., Missouri Master Naturalists and Hamilton Native Outpost booths and demonstrations.
- Discussion of the conservation efforts in the Grand River Grasslands. The MDC, The Nature Conservancy and Iowa conservations agencies as well as private landowners and private, non-profit groups are working together to recover tall grass prairie in the 70,000-acre area.
Camping will be available at either Dunn Ranch Prairie without hookups or at Harrison County Lake with hookups and primitive sites. There is also motel lodging available in Eagleville and Bethany, MO.
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