Spring is a time of reawakening from winter's slumber. New grasses are beginning to sprout, and spring wildflowers add dots of color to the greening landscape.
To help this renewal, we begin the process of "controlled burns" during March and April. Though it may appear destructive, these fires actually help maintain and nurture our prairie grasses. Fire deters the growth of trees, returns nutrients to the soil and stimulates the growth of some grasses and forbes.
It was the suppression of these fires following settlement which contributed to the disappearance of native barrens. Our fires are carefully monitored by LBL biologists and foresters, and are set under conditions which insure they will not become out-of-control wildfires.
As the weather warms, many animals will begin to shed their winter coats, often seeking out "rubs" -- trees, stumps, and rocks on which they can rub -- to help the shedding process along. If you visit us in person, be sure to look for the distinctive signs of a wildlife rub as you drive through our prairie.
Spring is also a time for new life. During April the first bison and elk calves begin to appear. Elk will keep their newborn calves hidden in tall grasses and shrubbery until the young have grown strong enough to keep up with the rest of the herd; bison calves will stay close to their mothers and can run with the herd within a day.