Prairie Fork Update: December 2021

Welcome to December, everyone! We hope you were all able to fill your bellies with a Thanksgiving-sized feast, and are ready to partake in the rest of the holiday season!

November is when the weather starts taking a bit of a turn here in mid-Missouri, and it’s becoming more and more evident that winter is quickly approaching. Research also winds down around here in the cold months of the year, but that doesn’t mean that research projects aren’t at the forefront of our minds! If you or anyone you know is interested in funding for research in the coming year, be sure to check out our 2022 Request For Proposal!

As the trees shifted into their winter garb, our forests were undergoing habitat management from several of our wonderful contractors. All month long, Timber Stand Improvement (TSI) work was being done within our forests. Along with felling trees to improve overall forest health, invasives such as bush honeysuckle and autumn olive were removed and chemically treated to ensure that our area is able to keep moving back toward its pre-European settlement state of being.

Mid-month, the second half of Dr. Christine Li’s Foundations of Environmental Education class was able to visit the site to practice giving programs suitable for the students that visit our area on Discover Nature Schools field experiences. After a successful morning of teaching, the future educators braved the frigid temperatures and the first flurries of the season to tour the property. If you or anyone you know would like to utilize our area for teaching experiences or group outings like these in the future, go ahead and submit a reservation.

As the weather grew colder, we found a way to stay warm! Just in time to make it into this update, the East Ridge of Prairie Fork was set ablaze…intentionally, of course! Prescribed burns are one of the best ways to keep our habitats healthy, and our November 30th burn marked the first and only burn of the season planned for the area. Keep an eye out for pictures of this field come next spring and summer…it will likely be filled with gorgeous wildflowers!