Savanna and Woodlands


Before it was settled, much of Missouri was a savanna, like in Africa, with woodlands found only in the vicinity of rivers and creeks. At the Shaw Nature Preserve, part of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, work is underway to restore this natural habitat. Hiking around there today, we could see signs that fire had been used, a natural cleansing agent that will restore the grounds to the way that they were supposed to be. Acres of prairie grasses already abound. Grasses so tall that you cannot see over them. Grasses so thick as to be impenetrable. It would be easy to lose yourself in them. And with so few people there today, who would find you? Fortunately for us wide paths have been mowed through this sea of grass. These pathways must also serve as nighttime superhighways for the local rodent population, because parts of them were literally paved with furry owl pellets. The woodlands are also being culled of brush, using both chainsaws and fire. It is an interesting experiment. I look forward to watching its further development. The gallery of photos gives just a sampling of the flora and fauna that we saw today. Spring looks like it is straining to pop.

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