My son came home from school today talking about prairies and mentioned his class was going to visit a prairie on a field trip. What exactly is a prairie and what might he expect to see?
A prairie is a habitat dominated by native grasses and flowers with fertile soil and few trees. There are approximately 72 types of grasses that grow in Iowa’s prairies and some of them will be taller than your son. Prairie grasses help with erosion control of the soil and provide food and cover for wildlife. Your son might also see wildlife like red-winged blackbirds, dickcissels, snakes, and insects. Prior to the 20th century, 85% of Iowa was covered by the tall grass prairie. Today, less than 1/10th of 1% of the native prairie remains. These native prairie remnants are found along railroad right of ways, roadsides, and parks. Polk County Conservation has planted and restored thousands of acres of native prairie and wetlands at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. Check our Calendar for our Prairie Festival. The Amazing Prairie Festival will feature a prairie maze to challenge your navigation and problem solving skills. There will also be other activities, educational information, and food.