Madison Christian Community

Prairie

As part of our mission to care for our earth, this native Wisconsin prairie preserves a part of the natural diversity that thrived before European settlers came to this part of southern Wisconsin.

The wild flowers are at their peak in the heat of the summer: yellow coneflower, purple cone-flower, bergamot, and later goldenrod and asters.

We invite you to walk the path in the prairie and experience this special place for yourself.

Maintaining the prairie since 1983 has been a cooperative effort by members of the Madison Christian Community. In the spring church members burn the prairie to stimulate native plants and control non-native species.

A planned controlled prairie burn is extremely beneficial tool in the sustainability and management of a prairie; in fact some fire is essential. Having evolved under the influence of fire for thousands of years, prairies respond favorably to controlled fires. It has been well
Prairiedocumented that Native Americans used fire extensively to improve game habitat, increase nut and berry production, and create easier traveling.

Fire rejuvenates a prairie in many ways. Burning removes the excess leaf litter and duff allowing more plants to flower, produce seed, and grow taller. It also increases available nutrients through indirect stimulation of microbial activity in the soil and releasing nutrients from the ash. Burning exposes the darkened soil and allows sunlight to warm the soil quicker and extend the growing season for warm season native plants. The fire suppresses many weeds and non-native invasive cool season grass like brome and reeds canary grass. Fire also damages or kills many woody invasive plants such as bush honey suckle and autumn olive, which, if left unchecked can quickly over take a prairie.
Photo by John Murray Mason

Controlled burning is one of several management tools used to preserve prairie. Mowing, hand cutting, and chemical treatments are some others. Generally we burn our three prairies on an every-other year rotation, with a portion of the prairie remaining unburned to allow for an escape area for wildlife and insects. Come back to that black spot in a week or two and see how beautifully green it becomes. Come back through-out the growing season and see the wildlife, insects, and prairie bloom.

 


Photos by Jim Muehl

Prairie Burn on April 11, 2015
Maintaining the prairie since 1983 has been a cooperative effort by members of the Madison Christian Community. In the spring church members burn the prairie to stimulate native plants and control non-native species.

Prairie Burn

 



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