The Little Calumet River and Mnoke Prairie hold a trail system that reveals the rich natural diversity that has drawn people to this area for over 10,000 years. It is a hike through a forest dominated by maple, beech, basswood and oak trees. You follow the stretch of the Little Calumet River, once a critical transportation route for early regional travelers and explore the Mnoke prairie for a glimmer of the vast stretches of pre-settlement grasslands. (NPS)
The beautiful prairie holds all of these small beautifully exotic-looking plants, but they need our help to survive in a changing climate and ever-encroaching urbanization. Once a week, a team of volunteers goes out to the prairie to collect seeds and hike the trail to learn about native and invasive plants. On wet or snowy days, they go into the greenhouses to learn about seed saving and seed propagation.
In the fall, the view of the prairie is especially beautiful. The sunrise makes the coloration of the stalks of grass turn a beautiful gold, and make seed collecting and being outdoors – even in the cold – a treat for all to enjoy.