Prairie chickens and conservation education, Minnesota
The greater prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) is found in prairie habitat in the Midwestern states of the U.S. Conversion of prairie habitat to agricultural lands has forced the prairie chicken to adapt to agricultural areas. Efforts to improve prairie habitat for this and other species have included controlled burns (which promotes growth of new vegeation), and creating preserves to protect prairie habitat. This species’ population numbers continue to decline and it is listed as “special concern” in Minnesota.
Following the breeding and fledging season of greater prairie chickens, an education program was developed for 4th and 5th grades in schools near the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District. The curriculum materials and access to live video of prairie chickens will be used to educate young people about the importance of prairies and prairie conservation efforts. The Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program funded this project by purchasing a computer server for a field video camera. This project was championed by David Schmidt, Development Associate at the MN Zoo.