The residents of Vintage Hills at Prairie Trail traveled to the prairie to see what Iowa was like prior to the Euro-American settlement in the 1840’s. The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge was created by an act of Congress to re-create 8,600 acres of tallgrass prairie and oak savanna. The native plant and animal communities that lived in the prairie prior to settlement also find their home in this wonderful refuge. Upon arrival at the refuge, we visited the education center where the residents saw a short movie on the prairie and what Iowa looked like prior to settlement. Monarch butterflies are migrating so the staff at Neal Smith Wildlife refuge were tagging the butterflies.
Bison once roamed the prairie in the millions. Although their numbers have dwindled, the Refuge has a captive herd of bison and elk within a fenced 700 acre enclosure. We drove through the enclosure and the residents saw a herd of bison grazing on the prairie. During our trip to the prairie we enjoyed a picnic lunch while watching all the butterflies and bees fly from wild flower to wild flower. It was a beautiful day of nature-filled fun!
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