Photo of Pawnee Prairie Natural Area by Tom Nagel
Photo of Helton Natural Areas by Tom Nagel
Join Mike Leahy, Missouri Conservation Department (MDC) Natural Community Ecologist and Missouri Prairie Foundation Technical Advisor, on a hike and guided tour of rare deep soil prairies of northern Missouri at MDC’s Pawnee Prairie and Helton Prairie Natural Areas. See prairie plants not typically seen south of the Missouri River such as the federally listed western prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara) and prairie cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta). Experience the productivity of these tallgrass prairies on glacial till soils at Helton Prairie, expansive views, and abundant mounds built by the prairie mound ant (Formica montana) at Pawnee Prairie. We will also see or hear a variety of grassland birds including the more northerly distributed bobolink. We will look at both remnant and reconstructed Glaciated Plains prairies and discuss the challenges and successes of prairie management in this ecoregion.
The tour will begin at Pawnee Prairie Natural Area at 10:00 a.m. and hike 2 to 3 miles on both a two-track lane as well as through the prairie. We will have a picnic lunch at Memorial Park in the town of Bethany, MO and then proceed to Helton Prairie Natural Area in the afternoon. At Helton Prairie we will hike no more than a half mile through the prairie. We will depart by 3:00 p.m. from Helton Prairie.
Free. Limited to 20. Following social distancing guidelines, Mike Leahy will lead this hike with participants safely spread out. Directions will be sent to registrants. Pawnee Prairie Natural Area is approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes from Kansas City and 3 hours and 40 minutes from Columbia.