International Crane Foundation

 

A New Look at an Ancient Habitat

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New prairie signageIn the early 1980s, when our Co-Founders Ron Sauey and George Archibald were scouting for a permanent location to house their cranes, they happened upon a dairy farm where they recognized plants found only in remnant prairies — small pockets of remaining tall-grass prairie. Once a part of larger native plant communities, prairie remnants are biologically diverse ecosystems that survive because they have never been cultivated or plowed. Today, less than 4% of the 170 million acres of tall-grass prairie that once stretched across North America remains, making efforts to protect and restore these valuable habitats extremely important.

The farm that Ron and George visited became the site for our current headquarters, which now includes over 100 acres of restored prairie, wetlands and oak savanna. Thanks to the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant, our visitors can now enjoy new interpretive signs along our nature trails that wind through 6-foot-tall compass plants, swaying big blue stem, colorful cone flowers ,and the dozens of other native species that have returned to our restored landscape. Prescribed fire, planting cycles and invasive species are all featured in our new signage, and guided prairie tours also are available to help our visitors learn about the role this native plant community can play in enriching our quality of life — long into the future.

Click here to plan your visit to our headquarters – we hope to see you soon!