August is an ideal time to visit Ohio's prairies. The tall grass prairie remnants of Ohio constitute less than 1% of our original prairie. Most of those lands were tilled long ago for agricultural purposes. This blogger has covered many of these historic sites in the past, including the well-known cemetery prairies- Smith and Bigelow, and the Daughmer Savanna Prairie posts which are here and here.
|Huffman Prairie restoration|
While visiting Dayton, Ohio for the Midwest Native Plant Conference I was invited out to see Huffman Prairie. It is situated squarely on the grounds of the Dayton Heritage National Historic Park at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The prairie is managed by the Five Rivers Metroparks, one of Ohio's excellent park systems. It is open to the public. You too, can take a self-guided tour and enjoy the new interpretive signage along the trail.
|Our group gathered in front of the Wright's hanger.|
The timing of my first visit was fortuitous, as a new book has been released documenting the lives of the Wright Brothers. Orville and Wilbur Wright were interesting characters and David McCullough's enthusiasm for the story was obvious during several recent media interviews. I am now looking forward to reading the book!
Ohio native plant community
But we were here to study the plants, not the history. This prairie holds an abundance of the plants one would have found in Ohio's original prairie plant community. Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea and Blazing-star, Liatris spicata are the major players in this pink and purple pallet set in a sea of grass.
|Dragonhunter lurks in the grass|
|The increasingly rare Monarch butterfly|
Go Monarchs and go to Huffman Prairie! There is plenty of biodiversity to see.