Jun 10

June 10 & 11, 2017: 8th Annual Prairie BioBlitz

Stilwell Prairie, by Scott Lenharth, photographed in June.

MPF’s 8th Annual Prairie BioBlitz will be held at its 376-acre Stilwell Prairie, Vernon County. Adults and children can take part in nature study with experts on mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, pollinators, ants, butterflies, moths, spiders, and plants, and help inventory species from 117 acres of biologically rich prairie at the site. This event is free of charge, and an interest in nature is all that is required to attend!

After an afternoon of prairie exploration, there will be a before-dinner talk under the big tent on prairie pollinators, followed by a potluck picnic dinner and an after-dinner talk on the conservation significance of prairies. After dark, participants can learn about nocturnal insects. Free tent camping is available on the prairie. Additional surveying and inventory work will continue on the morning of June 11.

What MPF provides: a big tent for gathering and eating under, chairs, tables, and portable toilets.

What you should bring: tent camping supplies, outdoor clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent, flashlight, drinking water, plates, utensils, a dish to share at the potluck dinner and a cooler to keep it in if it is perishable. You may also want to bring food for breakfast on June 11 and snacks, as well as field guides and a camera. A stove will be available for making coffee and tea in the morning. Tip: rubber boots are nice for shielding against morning dew.

The 376-acre Stilwell Prairie property is situated on a ridgetop with views of the Little Osage River Valley to the north and the Marmaton River Valley to the south. Stilwell Prairie contains two state-imperiled community types tracked by the Missouri Natural Heritage Database: dry-mesic limestone/dolomite and dry-mesic sandstone/shale prairie natural communities, as well as more than 325 native vascular plant species, including the federally threatened Mead’s milkweed (Asclepias meadii). Approximately 117 acres of Stilwell is high quality prairie, and the remainder is in varying stages of restoration.

Google Earth Map of Stilwell Prairie (http://www.moprairie.org/placemarks/stilwell-prairie-vernon-county/)

Directions: Stilwell Prairie is located in Vernon County on CR 500, 1 mile east of Richards on Route H and then 1 mile north on CR 500.  Parking is available by the gated entrance at the intersection of CR 500 and Indian Line Road.  By GPS, N37 55.723 W94 32.510 (in decimal degrees, 37.92872 -94.54184).

Download the 8th Annual Prairie BioBlitz flyerFeel free to post/share, and spread the word! All are welcome.

To RSVP, send a message to MPF Board Member Holly Berthold at [email protected] or call Holly at 314-620-4416. Please let Holly know which of the groups below you want to join (one per time slot):


Saturday, June 10: 

2:00 p.m.

Introduction to Stilwell Prairie—brief overview from MPF’s Director of Prairie Management Jerod Huebner, and Board Member Scott Lenharth.

At the previous MPF Prairie BioBlitzes, held at six different MPF prairies, among the findings that participants helped document have been 16 species of amphibians and reptiles; hundreds of plants, including 33 species of mosses and other bryophytes at one prairie, blooming orchids, and a rush previously undocumented from prairies; a moth not documented for 120 years in MO; 20 species of butterflies; dozens of bird species; and Arkansas darters, a fish that is a candidate for federal listing, and this pink katydid!

2:15 p.m.

Butterflies with Phil Koenig, naturalist and lepidopterist. No max. (repeated on Sunday a.m.)

Native bees with Mike Arduser, retired Natural History Biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation and native bee expert. 20 max.

Beyond Basic Prairie Botany with Justin and Dana Thomas of NatureCITE. 30 max.

Prairie Ecology (soils, geology, plant and animal interactions) with Mike Leahy, Natural Community Ecologist, Missouri Department of Conservation. 30 max (repeated on Sunday a.m.)

4:00 p.m.

Ants with Dr. James Trager, Biologist and ant expert, Shaw Nature Reserve. 15 max.

Introduction to small mammals and setting out traps with Dr. Sean Maher, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Missouri State University. 10 max.

Beyond Basic Prairie Botany with Justin and Dana Thomas of NatureCITE. 30 max.

5:00 p.m.

Before dinner talk: Prairie Pollinators, with Mike Arduser. Under the big tent. No max, no sign up needed.

6:00 p.m.

Dinner — potluck, with dishes contributed by all participants, and samples of wild game cooked on site by MPF’s Director of Prairie Management Jerod Huebner

7:00 p.m

After dinner talk: Conservation Significance of Prairies, with Bruce Schuette. Under the big tent. No max, no sign up needed.

7:30 p.m.

Spider search with Dr. Jesus Gomez, Kansas State University. 30 max.

After dark: 

Blacklight station for viewing nocturnal insects. No max, no sign up needed.

 

Sunday, June 11: 

First light:

Check small mammal traps on the prairie with Dr. Sean Maher, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Missouri State University. 5 max. Then, under the big tent, others can gather to see what mammals were found–no max, no sign up needed to view.

7:00 a.m.

Bird banding station with ornithologists with the Missouri River Bird Observatory. No sign up needed.

7:30 a.m.

Bryophytes with botanist Nels Holmberg. No max.

8:00 a.m.

Prairie Ecology (soils, geology, plant and animal interactions) with Mike Leahy, Natural Community Ecologist (repeated Saturday afternoon). 30 max

Amphibians and reptiles with John Miller, Naturalist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. 25 max.

10:00 a.m.

Butterflies with Phil Koenig, naturalist and lepidopterist (repeated on Saturday afternoon). No max.