An Improving Savanna

Savannas are open grasslands with widely scattered mature oak and hickory trees. A tremendous diversity of prairie grasses and wildflowers are found beneath the trees. Observations made by early explorers like Henry Schoolcraft indicate that much of Missouri was once covered by savannas.  Unfortunately, these ecosystems are endangered due to fire suppression, overgrazing, and the abundance of some grasses like fescue.

Thanks to volunteer efforts and our Habitat Improvement Specialist, Ben Parnell, major improvements have been made to our savanna and woodland areas over the last few weeks. Expedia employees, students and professors from both Missouri State University and Drury have spent their evenings and weekends clearing brush, removing invasive species, and improving the trail in these habitats. Thanks to these efforts, expect to see a tremendous diversity of life return to the restored savanna habitat in the seasons to come.

Jeff Birchler, Watershed Center Coordinator

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