This full-day field trip (8:30 am ? 5:00 pm) will introduce you to the grassland prairies of the Big Barrens Region of Kentucky and the wildlife that call it home. Pre-settlement land cover included almost 3 million acres of warm season native grasslands, apparently created and maintained by the use of fire by Native Americans. Post-settlement farming practices replaced the grasslands with food crops such as corn, wheat and tobacco. Settlers also introduced exotic varieties of cool season grasses, such as bluegrass, on which livestock grazed and out competed native species. There is now increasing interest in the restoration of former grasslands and the habitat they provided for iconic species such as the Bobwhite quail. Successful restoration requires the selection and cultivation of locally adapted regional ecotypes of native plant species. Roundstone Native Seed, LLC is a major producer of native grass and wildflower seed used in restoration projects throughout the mid-South. They partner with many state and federal agencies and private conservation organizations, including the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. This full-day field trip will provide a historical account of the Big Barrens Region and an overview of how the area?s past is contributing to the future for native grasses and wildflowers in the eastern United States. It also will provide an in-depth look at the process of wildland collection of native grass and wildflower seeds, and their production, cleaning, conditioning and storage. Roundstone personnel will demonstrate ?tricks of the trade? that lead to the successful establishment of native grass and wildflower species for pollinator habitat, quail and upland game habitat, Farm Bill programs, forage production and residential landscaping. Additional presentations will include an introduction to the wildland areas of Kentucky in general and the wildlife species dependent on each area.
Organizers: Sarah Bullock, Supervisory Wildlife Biologist, BLM California; Raymond D. Dueser, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; Robert Hoffman, Roundstone Native Seed, Upton, KY
Supported by: Wildlife and Habitat Restoration Working Group, Rangeland Wildlife Working Group