Autumn Sunrise on the Prairie


One of the great restoration success stories in central Wisconsin is the Pheasant Branch Conservancy in the City of Middleton near Madison in Dane County Wisconsin, a complex of prairie and wetlands in a large urban area.

Early morning on the Pheasant Branch Conservancy prairie and wetland complex.

Sections of the 550 acre property are variously owned by the Dane County Parks Department, the City of Middleton, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The area is managed as a contiguous unit by City and County staff with the help of volunteers. Volunteer efforts are spearheaded by the Friends of Pheasant Branch. There are work days, tours, and learning opportunities all year-long. Check out the schedule of events.

This prominent glacial feature is an iconic image of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy.

This excellent urban natural area includes prairies, oak groves, and wetlands. Atop the prominent hill pictured above are Native American effigy mounds. Flowing from the hillside are two sets of natural springs that contribute an estimated 2.6 million gallons of fresh water each year to nearby Lake Mendota.

Grove of old, open-grown oaks. One of my favorite restorations in Dane County.

Restoration volunteers at the Pheasant Branch Conservancy have done a marvelous job of bringing back prairie to this wonderful old oak grove. Volunteers cut woody pest plants, pull weeds, collect and sow seeds, and conduct prescribed burns. To learn how you can get involved check out the upcoming volunteer opportunities.

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About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist practicing and writing in the Midwestern United States.
This entry was posted in Ecological restoration, Fall foliage, Landscape photography, Prairie restoration, Springs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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