High stability, diversity and quality are the most important characteristic of fully intact, fully functional natural communities and should always be the primary target of ecosystem health. In order to maintain and/or restore prairies, we must understand how prairies work and the consequences of our actions as expressed in the biota. The misapplication of fire, over-reliance on herbicide, improper grazing regimes, over-harvest of local seed, vehicular trampling, etc. can shift a site away from healthful complexity and toward degradation and destabilization. Conversely, events such as moderate to low intensity fires and minimization of disturbance can improve prairie quality, richness and functionality. This tour of prairies is designed to discuss these issues with examples, and to focus attention on the benefits of a holistic community stability approach. Though some of the topics will be scientifically rigorous, the tour is designed for anyone from prairie enthusiast or volunteer to fully fledged professional. If you wish to understand the ecological underpinnings of prairie systems in clear terms, based on scientific research and astute observation, this is the tour for you. This one day event will consist of travel between several prairies around Sedalia, Missouri.
Led by: Justin Thomas (Science Director, NatureCITE) and Brett Budach (Research Associate, NatureCITE and Field Botanist, Institute of Botanical Training).
Meet at the main Paintbrush Prairie parking lot at 9:00am on Saturday, June 9th. Paintbrush Prairie is located 11 miles/14 minutes south of the intersection of US-50 and US-65 in Sedalia, MO. To get to the main parking lot, take US-65 south out of Sedalia for the 11 miles then exit left (east) onto Manila Road. The main parking lot will be on the south side of Manila Road and have a large MDC sign in front of it. Do not stop at the smaller parking lot on the north side of the road that you pass shortly after exiting. For easy navigation, enter the following coordinates into any maps app or GPS unit: 38.549532, -93.265197.