Oak Savanna

Only 0.01% of the original Oak Savanna is left in Minnesota

A thirty-five acre oak savanna is the third component of the project. Savannas, which are another type of prairie, were once common as the transition between the Big Woods of the east and the prairies of the west. Here, cattle grazing for over one-hundred years had wiped out the native plants, and later, in the absence of fire, an abundance of invading brush and trees have hidden the beautiful and long-lived bur oaks. These majestic, spreading oaks are the dominant plants of this habitat on the rolling upland hills. Since firebreaks were established in 1987, prescribed burns have been set about every other year. These fires not only eliminate unwanted trees and brush, but also strengthen the oaks and encourage prairie plants. In 1996 the task of replanting the savanna with native flowers and grasses began. Because of the care necessary to avoid damaging the oaks, work progresses slowly and will continue into the next century.