DNR to host free, educational prairie tour

Published 4:15 am Friday, May 18, 2012

Native plants and birds of southern Minnesota prairies will be the focus of a free event on Friday, June 8, in Mower and Dodge counties.

“Anyone interested in learning more about native plants and birds in our area should attend,” said Emily Hutchins, private lands wildlife specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “This is a unique chance to get a guided view of prairie life.”

DNR staff will lead the tour from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with stops at the Iron Horse Prairie Scientific and Natural Area and the Wild Indigo Prairie SNA. The SNA program preserves natural features and rare resources of exceptional scientific and educational value. SNAs are open to the public for hiking, nature photography, bird watching, snowshoeing and other activities that don’t disturb the natural conditions.

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Participants should dress for the weather and bring drinking water and lunch. Other suggested items include rain gear, comfortable hiking shoes, binoculars, a camera, insect repellent, sunscreen, a hat and field identification guides.

The group will meet in Hayfield at 8:30 a.m., register and leave by 9 a.m. The tour will stop in small towns along the way for facilities and to eat lunch.

The tour is free, but pre-registration is required and space is limited. To register, call Hutchins at 507-455-5841 or emily.hutchins@state.mn.us.