4. Prairie Fire and Snapper Protection

Cow Tree

Prairie Fire

  • The "Cow" tree is a visible reminder that fire is a vital part of the prairie and oak savanna ecosystem.  Both Native Americans and lightning frequently ignited fires that raged across the open prairie of Minnesota.
  • The revitalizing effects of fire can be observed almost immediately as the green hue of new growth returns in a matter of days and by the end of the season the prairie can be a sea of grasses over 6 feet tall.  Fires are important for the pyrofite (fire loving) plants of the prairie. 
  • As a management tool, prescribed burning keeps down encroaching trees, returns nutrients to the soil, and eliminates non-native plants.

Snapper Protection

  • Snapping turtle nests are protected from raccoon and skunk predators by cages.  Excessive turtle harvesting for soup in neighboring lakes has prompted us to provide a little extra protection for some of the nests we discover.  The eggs are incubated in the sand for 55-125 days depending on the weather.  Newly hatched snapping turtles are about the size of ping pong ball. 

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