First Impressions: South of Golf Course

Turning right onto Unity Drive from Highway 27 you’ll quickly come upon a small patch of remnant prairie just off the right side of the road. The patch is squeezed in between a tree line and the heavily mowed roadside, and at first glance looks to be primarily invasive grasses. Brome, poa, and Indian grass–all non-native–clearly dominate. And creeping down from the tree line is a fair amount of poison ivy that actually seems to overtake the grasses up closer to the trees. We saw no evidence of the pale and narrow leaves of the Echinacea angustifolia poking up in between the grasses. Slightly disappointed with the apparent lack of diversity and absence of native species in this unassuming roadside patch, we were about to walk away when we spotted the soft metallic green of some leadplants crowning the top of the incline by the tree line. These native legumes are a sign of a healthy prairie, and finding them was without a doubt the redeeming highlight of our encounter with this otherwise sad patch of prairie.

Upon returning to the research base just down the road and showing the picture we took of the site to Stuart, we found out that much of the remnant had very recently been mowed and the patch we were examining was smaller than it had been even since Stuart’s last visit–a disappointing fact added to our investigation. We hope that this ever-shrinking prairie remnant sees better days soon.


Snapshot of “South of Golf Course” prairie remnant off of Unity Drive and Highway 27.


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