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Diversity…Diversity…Diversity

As I sit here at my desk, wondering what topic to talk about for my blog, I can’t help but reminisce of all the things I have learned, job tasks that I have been part of, people I have been able to work with and places I have been able to travel to. This will be my twenty-first year working at Prairie Restorations, Inc. so there are a lot of things I could talk about. Ultimately, it really comes down to what I am the most passionate about and that is high diversity...

Project with the National Wildlife Refuge to Restore Minnesota Oak Savanna

Prairie Restorations, Inc. Partners with the Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge to Help Restore a Minnesota Oak Savanna Ecosystem Oak savannas once covered significant portions of the Upper Midwest, and it was a major part of the landscape pioneers encountered when they came to Minnesota in the 1800s. Unfortunately less the 2/100ths of a percent – or almost nothing – of that native ecosystem still exists today. What is a savanna?  It is a mixed ecosystem with scattered deciduous trees, with enough open...

2016 Midwest Solar Project of Distinction Winner Announced

Dairyland Power Cooperative, WI. Dairlyland Power Cooperative of Wisconsin, a partner we at Prairie Restorations, Inc. are proud to work with, was recognized as a winner of the Midwest Solar Projects of Distinction for their 14 new solar sites. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) recognized and awarded Dairlyland and their additional partners, SoCore Energy, Chicago; Faith Technologies Inc., Menasha, Wisconsin; and Distribu-Gen Cooperative, La Crosse, Wisconsin for the first large-scale deployment of single-axis tracker arrays in the state. Native and pollinator...

Stearns County Solar Farm Native Plants Requirement Is First in State

At PRI, we were really excited to see the latest news that Stearns County has become the first in the state to require planting of native grasses and wildflowers to provide pollinator habitat on solar farms and solar gardens.  It is great to see a governmental body being proactive in the fight to create essential habitat for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. Solar power demand is on the increase, and solar farms and community solar gardens are popping up all over the...

A Little About Violets

Prairie violetPrairie violet According to Wikipedia, there are between 525 and 600 species of Violas and most are distributed in the temperate Northern Hemisphere. There are around 20 species that grow in Minnesota. Here at Prairie Restorations, we grow six species – V. canadensis, V. cucullata, V. pedatifida (V. palmata var. pedatifida), V. pubescens, V. sagittata, and V. sororia. Violas often have a migratory growth habit. They tend to energetically project their seeds, and plants begin to grow in any...

PRI In the News: Electric Co-Ops , Solar Sites & Pollinator Habitats

Native Prairie Plantings MNEarlier in 2016, the Minnesota state legislature gave their whole hearted support to solar energy farms that are pollinator-friendly.  And Prairie Restorations, Inc. is proud to be a part of some of these projects, such as the solar development by Great River Energy. A recent article in Fresh Energy focused on the connection between electric co-ops and native landscaping that provides a haven for pollinators such as bumblebees, monarch butterflies, honey bees, and foraging birds that also contribute to pollination.  PRI’s own CEO Ron Bowen was interviewed...

Fall Harvest is Upon Us near Glyndon, Minnesota

combineThe harvest season is upon on once again and we are working in full force here on the Bluestem Farm near Glyndon, Minnesota. Harvest season usually consist of harvesting native grasses and forbs on our farm but this year, we are harvesting an additional 550 acres off site. This additional seed that is being collected will be used to enhance existing prairies and create new ones throughout western Minnesota. The process of collecting a large volume of seed is not easy and takes the right equipment and experience. Each day our crew...

Books…The Prairie Manager’s Best Friend

Big BluestemOver the past few years my book collection has been steadily growing. It is comprised of taxonomy, botany, plant ID and natural history material. Out of my 25 or so books my favorite is Big Bluestem: A Journey Into The Tallgrass by Annick Smith. In the book Big Bluestem, Smith describes the history, biology, and future of the Nature Conservancy’s 39,000 acre tall grass prairie preserve near Pawhuska, OK. The preserve is managed by a small group of restorationists whose primary tools are prescribed burning and free-ranging bison....

For the Love of Fern(s)

Matteucia%20sizedI love watching new fiddle heads unfurl in spring. Ferns have always been a fascinating part of the woodland understory to me. It may be partly due to my mother’s name being Fern, my sister’s middle name is Fern and now my daughter’s middle name is Fern. Also, one of my favorite childhood books is Charlotte’s Web, because of the little girl Fern. Ferns come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the main fern species I see out in the woods are Lady fern (Athyrium felix-femina), Sensitive fern (Onoclea...

Summer Prairies

shore 024It’s been a great time to be out in the prairie. The recent rains and heat have really boosted growth after a few dry weeks. It was dry enough in the southwest metro that even some of the heartier forbs were wilting, but now all of the midseason flowers are coming into bloom and most of the grasses are bolting. In Chanhassen at Bluff Creek behind the high school, there is a beautiful and diverse prairie in full bloom. It transitions from a short dry prairie full...
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