Beaver Dam during the 'Visit to Prairie Habitat'

The members visited a beaver dam while they toured the prairie habitat. (Photo courtesy of Arlene Kjar).

Northfield Prairie Partners sponsored a visit to a local prairie on Aug. 17.

“Visit to a Prairie Habitat” was hosted by Jerry and Audrey Wicklund and was attended by members and guests of the Prairie Partners. The prairie and wetlands cover 130 acres so neighbors of the Wicklunds loaned their ATVs and participants used caravan style stopping at interesting points to walk out into the prairies.

Chub Creek runs through the Wicklund farm, so the first stop was at the beaver dam which has been active since 1948. The most interesting flower they saw was the Great Blue Lobelia. Grey-headed Coneflowers, Partridge Pea, Goldenrod, Leadplant and a native thistle were also blooming. Railroad tracks run along the farm, so many native plants are found along it for it was never cultivated or farmed along the right-of-way.

The Wicklunds have another interesting project going in which they have planted food plots for the deer and game birds. In this area, they have planted red clover, sweet clover, and other plants liked by turkey, deer, pheasant, and grouse. They have planted 800 oak and fruit trees in the last four years. Hundreds of pine trees have been planted throughout the farm since 1948. Numerous bird species inhabit the wooded, wetland, and prairie areas. The Wicklunds have created a sanctuary for wildlife and plan on protecting it by putting it into the Conservation Reserve Program for wildlife enhancement. The land in CRP has been active for 18 years.

The Northfield Prairie Partners is a chapter of Wild Ones that is an organization that encourages natural landscaping. The next program will be on Sept. 14, hosting Jim Fitzpatrick’s presentation on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and importance of habitat. It will start at 7 p.m. at Emmaus Baptist Church, 713 Linden St. N. For membership information, Chapter go to www.wildones.org or call Arlene Kjar, at 507-645-8903.

Reach Editorial Assistant Kelsey at 507-645-1117. Follow her on Twitter @APGKelsey.

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