Dordt College News

Prairie burn spring 2011

April 25, 2011

Spring is on the way. And as the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. But sometimes the flowers need a little more encouragement to bloom. That is why the manager of the Dordt College prairie is planning a controlled burn within the next few weeks.

Once the weather is right for a burn, college personnel, with support from the Sioux Center fire department, will set three acres of the northwest corner ablaze. The burn will set back the invasive species that compete with the prairie species and will help encourage the native species to grow. It will also increase growth due to the release of nutrients into the soil that occurs as a result of burning.

Later this spring some small trees will be removed from the wetland area as well, and weeding and mowing will take place throughout the summer to promote a healthy prairie and encourage native growth.

The prairie at Dordt serves as a “living laboratory” for students as well as faculty to carry out studies and research projects in biology, environmental studies, agriculture, and many other areas. It is a small snapshot of the native tall grass prairie that was originally present throughout most of the state of Iowa. To learn more about Dordt College’s prairie go to

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