Earth Day Prairie Restoration

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Come out and lend a hand this EARTH DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 22nd from 7:00 AM - NOON.

We will be restoring a native prairie of the Black Belt Prairie, Osborn Prairie, located in Starkville, Mississippi.

Osborn Prairie is only a small section of the Black Belt Prairie - which actually extends 310 miles long and 25 miles long throughout Mississippi and Alabama.*

This region is prized for its fertile, rich soils and habitats that it provides to several endemic species of plants and insects.*

However, agriculture has stripped much of these lands of their nutrients. Now, less than 1% of the Black Belt's open prairie habitat remain intact!*

This is where WE come in - our opportunity to make a difference in our local communities. By planning events that draw people out into nature so they can lend a helping hand and learn about ways in which they can make an impact is key!

This Earth Day we will be downing several invasive eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.). For these once fire-dominated prairies, it is vital. These eastern redcedar previously were not a problem because fire was a natural part of this ecosystem. Prairie grasses can withstand fire whereas the eastern redcedar cannot. Now these trees are causing havoc by using up water that surrounding vegetation rely on and fragmenting prairie habitats. Fragmenting of prairies leads to insects and plants being less likely to travel from prairie to prairie to spread their genes. This creates a bottleneck and reduces gene flow - which is essential for maintaining adaptability for organisms in a changing climate.*

Check out all of these species of plants that grow here, particularly the milkweed (Asclepias) that the endangered Monarch butterflies solely rely on.

This Earth Day how will you make a difference?

Our Earth needs you now more than ever. Here are some ways that you can help:

*Facts cited from the MSU Entomological Museum & Department

#EarthDay #prairies #restoration #conservation #biology #ecology #volunteering #community #education

© 2018 by Mercedes Siegle-Gaither

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