Native warm-season grasses and wildflowers retain a place in Northwest Missouri pastures because they benefit cattle forage, scenery, and wildlife habitat. The Missouri Department of Conservation and The Nature Conservancy invites the public to enjoy grasslands at a free Prairie Day event on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Dunn Ranch Prairie and Pawnee Prairie west Eagleville in Harrison County. Bison tours, grassland conservation exhibits, and wildflower walks will be among the activities.
Prairie Day celebrates the grazing and wildlife habitat improvements by private landowners and public land managers in the Grand River Grasslands, a cooperative effort with partners in Missouri and Iowa. Various types of yellow sunflowers will be in bloom, and the big bluestem grasses will be tall with their turkey-foot-shaped seed heads.
Dunn Ranch Prairie and Pawnee Prairie have unplowed and restored native grassland. Prairies provide vigorous grass and wildflower growth from spring into autumn. Both are nutritious as cattle forage, including in the heat of summer, and both benefit wildlife and pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
A guided birding hike will be offered at 8 a.m. at MDC’s Pawnee Prairie Conservation Area, northwest of Dunn Ranch.
TNC’s Dunn Ranch picnic shelter will host activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors can take wagon tours of the prairie to see bison. MDC experts will be available to discuss the benefits of adding native warm-season grasses to forage rotations. Biologists will give presentations on prairie animals and wildflowers.
TNC’s Dunn Ranch Prairie shelter and headquarters are located at 16970 W. 150th St., Hatfield, Mo. All ages and families are welcome; no registration is required. Lunch concessions will be available onsite. COVID-19 precautions will be observed. Bring your cameras, binoculars, and curiosity to enjoy a close look at Missouri’s grassland heritage, including bison.
For more information on Prairie Days, call MDC’s Northwest Regional Office at 816-271-3100. To learn more about prairie in Missouri, visit the Prairies section of the Missouri Department of Conservation website.