Prairie Sky Prairie Restoration
Prairie Sky Sanctuary is a member of The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), a nonprofit organization based in Spring Valley, Wis. MOSES promotes organic and sustainable agriculture by providing the education, resources and expertise farmers need to succeed. Because pollinators are very sensitive to pesticides, their efforts are critical to the life and restoration of their habitat and the entire Pine-Oak Savanna ecosystem.
Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out why I think prairie conservation is so important. I’m not questioning my conviction – I feel very strongly that prairies are worth my time and effort
Barred owls, Strix varia, are a treat to see because they spend most of their lives hidden from view in deep shadowy forests. Although we seldom see them, we hear them often. Barreds are fairly vocal with a repertoire of barks, and hoots that penetrate the darkness. Their most familiar call is a low, mournful rhythmic eight-hoot often transcribed as "Who cooks for you?
The woolly bear caterpillar—also called woolly worm and fuzzy worm—has the reputation of being able to forecast the coming winter weather. Whether fact or folklore, learn more about this legendary caterpillar and how to “read” the worm...
Several years ago, I was walking through one of our restored (reconstructed) prairies in early August, scouting for prairie clover seed harvest sites with one my technicians. About a week earlier, we’d seen an abundance of prairie clover blooming in the same prairie, so we were coming back to see whether it was going to make seed or not.
The Cerulean Warbler breeds in large blocks of mature upland and lowland hardwood forests (Hamel 2000) and, in Wisconsin, occurs most often in oak-hickory and maple forest types (Mossman 2006). It is considered to be area-sensitive, but appears to possess a degree of plasticity in its habitat affinities (Jones et al. 2001). Habitat measures such as extent of canopy, tree species composition, stand age, and tract size vary considerably across its range (Hamel 2000).
Regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia), a butterfly presently listed as a Federal Species of Concern and Endangered in Wisconsin, has been found in large grassland areas with tallgrass prairie remnants or lightly grazed pasture lands containing prairie vegetation. The larval food plants are violets, primarily prairie violet (Viola pedatifida), birdsfoot violet (V. pedata) and arrowleaf violet (V.sagittata). Adults are present between late June and early September with peak flight usually the first part of July.
Asclepias species produce some of the most complex flowers in the plant kingdom, comparable to orchids in complexity: Whorled, Purple, Prairie, Antelope, Horse tail. All members of the genus Asclepias are appealing to Monarch butterflies and caterpillars. Nine species grow in Crawford County but only four are available at local nurseries. I’m going to show you six more today.
Prairie Sky Sanctuary is a member of the Southwest Chapter of the Prairie Enthusiasts, in the heart of the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin. The area contains dry hill prairies, river terrace sand and wet prairies, and oak savannas. There are many Prairie Enthusiast-owned properties that require our care in managing and restoring. Our chapter was one of the first chapters formed, and we have a rich history!