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Missouri Prairie Foundation’s 9th Annual Prairie BioBlitz comes to Ozarks

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Bioblitz participants receive some near total immersion into prairie life during the events. This year the 9th annual Bioblitz comes to Vernon County.

The Missouri Prairie Foundation’s 9th Annual Prairie BioBlitz is returning to the Ozarks in 2018 at Pleasant Run Creek Prairie in Vernon County, near Sheldon and Nevada. This year’s camping event is Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3.

Pleasant Run Creek Prairie is a 180-acre tract containing original, unplowed prairie and acreage undergoing prairie reconstruction. It is part of a 620-acre prairie complex owned and managed by the Missouri Prairie Foundation. This popular event is free of charge, and an interest in nature is all that is required.

Participants get a chance for nature study and help inventory species with experts on birds, amphibians, reptiles, pollinators, prairie stream life, ants, butterflies, moths, plants, soils, and more.

“Ecologists consider temperate grasslands to be the most endangered, least conserved of any major terrestrial habitat on earth—so Missouri’s tallgrass prairies have global conservation significance,” says Carol Davit, the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s executive director. “We know that our remaining prairies in Missouri support rich plant and animal life, but there is still much to learn. We want to see how many different kinds of plants and animals we can find at Pleasant Run Creek Prairie, and BioBlitz participants will help in that effort.”

After an afternoon of prairie exploration, participants will contribute to and enjoy a potluck picnic dinner, and Missouri State Park Naturalist Chris Crabtree will present Missouri’s Rich Native American Heritage — from the Swamplands to the Prairie. After dark, participants can learn about nocturnal insects, and enjoy free tent camping under the stars on the prairie. Additional surveying and inventory work will continue on the morning of June 3.

The event is free, but participants must RSVP. For a detailed schedule, directions to the prairie, and to RSVP, visit www.moprairie.org.

The Missouri Prairie Foundation is a 52-year-old membership organization that protects and restores prairie and other native grasslands through acquisition, management, education, and support of prairie research. The foundation

owns 21 properties totaling more than 3,300 acres of prairie across the state, and with partners inspires the conservation of thousands more. The Missouri Prairie Foundation is also home to the Grow Native! native plant education and marketing program and the Missouri Invasive Plant Species Task Force.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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