2023 Field Trips (Must be a member to attend)
Prescribed Fire for Limestone Glade and Woodland Restoration in Central Kentucky
Description: Fort Knox is home to several remnant glades scattered throughout the installation that have seen restoration efforts from the Natural Resources Branch. In Hardin County, the Cedar Creek Glade Complex has a history of prescribed fire as well as cedar removal and invasive species control. These glades are a unique community that support several rare plants. They are under threat of woody encroachment from cedar and hardwoods. Prescribed fire is one tool used within the glades to maintain their unique plant and animal communities. Several years ago an effort was initiated to restore the forest surrounding several glades to an open woodland. This effort encompasses roughly 125 acres. Midstory removal and a timber sale were the first management actions initiated to reduce stocking in 2017 and 2018. For prescribed burning, the woodland is split roughly in half with the two sections being burned on independent rotations. Each unit has seen one fire (2019 and 2020) with plans in place to perform the second fire on the 2019 section this year (Spring 2023). Successful woodland restoration will take much more than a timber sale and a few prescribed fires, but this field trip can provide a snapshot view of the processes as well as lead into other topics touching on glades, woodland restoration, forest management and fire, and general prescribed fire practices.
Location: Fort Knox, Hardin Co.
Led by: Logan Nutt, Copperhead Consulting and David Jones, Fort Knox
Time: 2-3 hours
Materials: Field clothes, insect protection, sun protection, water, snacks
Maximum participants: 18
Role of Prescribed Fire to Maintain Habitat for Monarch Butterflies and other Pollinators
Description: Since the mid-1990s, the eastern monarch population has declined by approximately 85%. In response to the population loss, monarchs are currently on the candidate waiting list for Endangered Species Act protection. In the United States, monarchs have lost up to 165 million acres of breeding habitat due to herbicide use and anthropogenic development. Monarchs rely on milkweed species (Asclepias sp.) as a host for laying eggs and as food when they are caterpillars. Between 1999 and 2012, milkweed numbers across the midwest declined by an estimated 64% due to threats such as habitat loss, anthropogenic development, and herbicide use. OKNP and KDFWR have used efforts to help restore pollinator and monarch habitat at Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. OKNP has used prescribed fire on rotation over the last decade to maintain grassland habitat and promote growth of pollinator friendly plants in a key roosting area for the monarch butterfly. Potential to tie in tagging event.
Location: Perryville, Boyle Co.
Led by: Heidi Braunreiter and Maddy Heredia, Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves
Dates: TBD. When monarchs moving through area, late September early October.
Time: 2-3 hrs
Materials: Field clothes. Nets and tags provided (if applicable).
Maximum participants: 20
2023 Webinars (open to all)
Using Fire to Conserve Kentucky’s Natural Heritage
Description: About 65% of the species and communities tracked by the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves occur in disturbance based communities. Historically, this disturbance came in the form of large grazing mammals, wildfire, or through intentional fires set by Indigenous people. In order to maintain these remnant natural communities and preserve Kentucky’s natural heritage, the Office regularly uses prescribed fire as a modern disturbance event to setback succession and improve site conditions. This presentation looks at several priority projects OKNP has worked on over the last five years and how fire has been an important tool in preservation and management. This presentation is best suited for students or non-professionals and highlights the importance of disturbance in managing natural areas in Kentucky.
Led by: Josh Lillpop, Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves
Time: 1 hour
Making a Case for Late-Growing Season Prescribed Fire
Description: If asked, when is the best or most common time to burn? What would you say? Many prescribed fire practitioners might say the spring or dormant season. However, there is growing evidence and support for the idea that fire seasonality should be varied to achieve specific objectives. Join Jarred Brooke, Extension Wildlife Specialist, and INPFC Chair, as he describes some of his (and others) research and extension efforts related to making a case for late-growing prescribed fire in Indiana.
Led by: Jarred Brooke
Time: 1 hour