Wisconsin Prairie Restoration

Wisconsin Pairie Restoration

 

Within the last 200 years, tallgrass prairies have been reduced to less than 5% of great prairies
settlers would have originally encountered.

 

 

  • details

    Tallgrass Roots
    An Interview with Janet Beimborn
    By Kelsey Koppelberger
    Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803

     


     

    Fig. 1 US prairie historical map_600

    Fig. 1. North American Tallgrass prairie: THEN and NOW (adapted from Landscape America and the Tallgrass Prairie Center).

     

     

    Within the last 200 years, tallgrass prairies have been reduced to less than 5% of great prairies
    settlers would have originally encountered. The images above show the historical North American tallgrass prairies (left) and the current, remaining tallgrass prairies (right).

     

    THE ROOTS
    In 1989, inspired by her work with the local nature center, Janet Beimborn (Fig. 2), a retired audiologist, converted her family’s farm – land into tallgrass prairie, an endangered habitat (Fig. 1).The hope was to create a wildlife refuge and preserve declining species. A nonprofessional project, it has been a true example of adaptive management: with each season with its own set of obstacles of learning curves.

     

    “Our goal in planting wasn’t to make a big flower garden: it was to create habitat for grassland species – because grassland habitat, especially tallgrass prairie, is one of the most endangered habitats on the planet.”

     

    Fig. 2. Janet
    Fig. 2. Janet Beimborn.

     

     

    Fig. 3. cycle_500
    Fig. 3. Burning cycle for the prairie (courtesy of the Beimborn Family).

     

     

    Fig 4. farm aerial
    Fig. 4. The Beimborn Farmland converted to Tallgrass prairie (aerial image from Pictometry).
    The site (Fig. 4) has been used by many researchers for various studies on the habitat and its (wild) tenants. It has been
    home to Bobolinks – a blackbird in a strong decline due to habitat loss. Wild Quinine, a native, state threatened flower, thrives on the prairie (Fig. 5). The vernal pond on site has been discovered to have many indicator species. The prairie has also attracted many student trips.

     

     

    “It’s a seed bank and a gene bank for species that may be otherwise disappearing.”
    Fig. 5. plant bird
    Fig. 5. Wild Quinine(above) and Bobolink (below) (courtesy of the Beimborn family.
    “It surprised me how many people appreciated it…people that are not involved in natural history and things of that sort.”

     

    Backyard ecological restoration isn’t yet a grassroots movement, but its had an impact on the community. Further, Beimborn’s efforts has reached four generations within her family–including her great-niece, Kelsey Koppelberger (Fig. 6).

     

    Fig. 6. 3 generations

     

    Fig. 6. Janet Beimborn and three generations of nieces (courtesy of the Beimborn family).

     

    For further information:

    http://www.landscope.org/

    and

    http://www.tallgrassprairiecenter.org

ShareShare TweetTweet