Prairie Fork Update: October 2021

The Temperature is dropping, the trees are slowly changing colors, and its been busy around here lately!

After an understandable lack of visitation throughout the past year and a half, Prairie Fork was finally able to welcome some new faces for two events in July and August! Ladies from Quail Forever & Pheasants Forever in Missouri and Wander Woman Outdoors hosted two Women on the Wing events on the area. These events were used as an opportunity to give their attendees the knowledge and confidence to get out, explore, and ID species on their own. We look forward to hosting more events like this in the near future, so be on the lookout!

In September, Prairie Fork changed drastically! Along with the brick house that resided on the north side of the property, we said farewell to the Jones residence. This was a bittersweet development for all involved, as it truly marked the end of an era here at Prairie Fork. While we look forward to the opportunities that the space left by their home will bring, it was a somber goodbye nonetheless. Without Ted & Pat Jones, Prairie Fork wouldn’t be the thriving, education & research-focused area that it is. Though we no longer have their home as a physical reminder of their contributions, the sprawling prairies and the diversity they hold serve as a testament to the Jones’ generosity and dedication to Missouri’s wild places.

Our first education-related visitors of September made the trek out from the Mizzou campus. The Principles of Wildlife Management class was able to spend some time in our Seed Shed learning how seed is collected and processed for winter planting, before getting the chance to head out onto the prairie and collect some seed themselves!

Over the past month, Prairie Fork welcomed several Boy Scout Troops for camping and use of our Orienteering Course. We love hosting groups on the area, and are even more excited about it when our visitors use their time here to learn valuable life-skills! If you’re interested in setting up a camping trip for YOUR group, please head over to our reservation page.

Our last group of September was a Girl Scout Troop who came out to harvest bamboo from our patch. They plan to gain service hours by cutting and weaving the harvested bamboo into a fence for our new Nature Explore Area. We are incredibly grateful for their willingness to volunteer for this task, and can’t wait to see (and show you all) the final product! If you would like to find out how YOU can volunteer your time to help Prairie Fork, please get in touch with Amber.

As I’m sure many of you know, we like fire out here at Prairie Fork! Along with its usual slew of invasive species treatments, September was also host to a prescribed burn on the northern portion of the property. Fall burns such as this one serve to decrease the abundance of grasses on our prairies and allow forbs (flowering plants) to flourish.

We all hope you have a wonderful October and remember to “Learn, Get Dirty, and Have Fun!” We’ll see you in November!