Prairie Fork News and Updates: First Quarter 2023

Welcome to the First Quarter of 2023, everyone! 

2023 is here, and already the first quarter is over!! How time flies. Our goal is to keep you informed about the news and happenings at Prairie Fork Conservation Area. Here are some of the events and fieldwork that went on in January, February, and March! 

Photo credit by Amber Edwards

Educational Updates

Outdoor classroom number three was finalized with an Eagle Scout, Jack Callahan from Troop 104, completing Leopold Benches. 

Prairie Fork was one site for a Youth mentored Rabbit Hunt with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) in January.

This winter, our meeting room has been in use along with our two campsites for those scouts with winter campouts.

Prairie Fork hosted a professional Field Trip Experience for the National Association of Interpretation South Central Region in coordination with their annual conference held in Columbia, MO, this year.

The Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) students from the Conservation Federation of Missouri participated in an annual workday at Prairie Fork. They started with the Outdoor Classroom (OC) two that they helped create many years ago. They also helped to reset and touch up all four outdoor classrooms. Helping to ensure that students have focused locations to sit, listen, re-group, and see nature for a moment before the squeals of joy fill all three habitats most students explore in.

Photo Credit by Amber Edwards

We joined MDC in showcasing macroinvertebrates at a booth with the Columbia Young Scientist Expo on MU Campus.

Runge Nature Center Hiking group used the mowed trails to look at spring wildflowers and get a few miles of hiking in at the end of March.

2023 Projects

Project Title: From Prairie to Stream: An Assessment of Stream Bank Erosion and Riparian Biogeochemistry.

Project Principal Investigator: Dr. Morgan P. Davis

Institution and/or Affiliation: The University of Missouri, School of Natural Resources


Project Title: How Does Vitamin B1 Influence Harmful Algal Blooms and Lake Toxicity?

Project Principal Investigators: Fatima Laraib, Ph.D. Student; Dr. Rebecca L North, Assistant Professor

Institution and/or Affiliation: The University of Missouri, School of Natural Resources

Ongoing Projects at PFCA

Project Title: Continued Evaluation of Restoration and Reconstruction Techniques in a Gradient of Natural Communities in Missouri

Project Principal Investigator: Dr. Benjamin O. Knapp 

Institution and/or Affiliation: The University of Missouri, School of Natural Resources

Area Management Updates

The first quarter saw prescribed burns on 68 acres of Grassland and Woodland units. 

Invasive species control continues with 34 acres of Sprayed Reeds and Canary grass. 42 acres of Bush Honeysuckle and Autumn Olive were also treated.

The crew bull-hogged seven acres of Black Locust stands.

See You Again Soon

Please watch for updates again very soon!! And remember to “Learn, Get Dirty, and Have Fun!”