There are over 400 species of native prairie plants in Wisconsin. In the restored prairie you are looking at here, 65 species of grasses and wildflowers have been reintroduced. Many of the types of wildflowers below can be found throughout the growing season from spring to fall. How many can you spot today? After the spring burning, you will begin to see the green of the grasses and early wildflowers. By mid summer, the wildflowers are in full bloom. In the fall, many flowers have produced seed heads that can be harvested to plant in future seasons.
Mike Fort tirelessly spent many years leading other volunteers in restoring this prairie and others on the Lapham Peak property. You probably noticed a large boulder with a plaque dedicated to Mike’s efforts just off the path by the Fort shelter near the Homestead Hollow parking. Since, Mr. Fort’s retirement, Dan and Melissa Jarecki have expanded the restoration of this small area through seed planting and the process of keeping invasives at bay including the use of periodic controlled burns and good old fashioned hand pulling of weeds. Many, much larger examples can be found in the prairies west of Highway C which are maintained by other dedicated volunteers.
Some people balk at the idea of removing invasive species which are appealing to the eye. These plants then crowd out native plants and take over the entire area. Many invasive species were originally planted as ornamental plants but they spread to other areas and are now growing out of control.