Native Prairie Communities and Conservation At Minnesota’s Ordway Prairie
Sunday, August 4, 2013: 8:15 AM-5:00 PM
Level One, Reg Area, 3rd Ave South Lobby, Minneapolis Convention Center
The Nature Conservancy’s 626-acre Ordway Prairie lies in west-central Minnesota near the transition zone where the Eastern Deciduous Forest gave way westward to open expanses of prairie. The preserve is a key component of one of Minnesota’s largest, core prairie landscapes identified in the recent 25-year, multi-agency plan to re-establish larger, more functional prairie landscapes in Minnesota (see: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/mcbs/mn_prairie_conservation_plan.pdf). We will start with discussion of the status of MN prairies, the new MN Prairie Conservation Plan, and conservation in the Glacial Lakes/Ordway landscape. We will then hike about 1.5 miles across numerous gravelly hills and eskers formed in stagnating ice along a margin of the Des Moines lobe, the state’s most recent glaciation, and deposited on top of the massive, older Alexandria end moraine. We will see outstanding examples of dry sand-gravel prairie on hilltops and slopes, as well as wet and mesic prairies, scattered bur oak groves, and a calcareous fen. Of the many rare species that have been recorded in the preserve, we are likely to see Hill’s thistle, low milkvetch, regal fritillary, and plants of calcareous fens (sterile sedge, marsh arrowgrass, hairlike beakrush). The trip will be led by ecologists/botanists of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Minnesota Biological Survey (Fred Harris, Carmen Converse, Robert Dana), and ecologists and managers of The Nature Conservancy (Matt Graeve, Steve Chaplin).
Registration Fee: $97
Equipment and Attire: This hike involves 1.5 miles of moderately strenuous, up-and-down hiking across steep-sided hills through prairie grasses and brush. Participants must wear long pants and sturdy shoes, and be prepared for weather conditions that may consist of bright sun, extreme heat, or rain. Those who want to look at a fen will get their feet wet. Please bring a day-pack, extra water, sun hat, sunscreen, and rain gear. We will go in rain or shine.
Itinerary: 1. 8:00am – Leave Minneapolis Convention Center for the town of Brooten for a rest stop at a gas station, arriving at 10:10.
2. 10:30am—Leave Brooten for Ordway Prairie arriving by 10:40.
3. 10:40am—Presentations/discussion; distribute box lunches; divide into groups of 10 participants, ending by 11:15am.
4. 11:15am—In small groups, hike approx 1.5 miles from the west to the east side of the preserve. Carry box lunches to eat during a stop in the field. Meet the bus on east side of preserve at 2:00pm.
5. 2:00pm—leave Ordway Prairie for the town of Brooten for a rest stop at a gas station, arriving at 2:10.
6. 2:30—Leave Brooten for the Minneapolis Convention Center arriving by 5:00pm.