Sunday, April 15, 2012

Students get first-hand experience with prairie burn

Ashland University science majors and faculty spent a couple of hours in early April doing a planned burn at the Rupp Preserve. This restored prairie has had sections burned twice before, and this year's section was ready for its turn.  Periodic fires in prairie ecosystems recycle mineral nutrients, favor growth of fire-adapted prairie species, and suppress growth of woody plants.  Dick Stoffer, Professor of Biology and AU Environmental Preserve Manager, was in charge of the burn, while several students and a few other faculty participated.

 Desi Kierner (AU'13, Environmental Science/Biology), Shawn Probst (AU'13, Biology), and Cassie Nix (AU'14, Environmental Science/Biology/Toxicology) get their back-pack water supplies ready to work
Dick Stoffer starts extending the tail fire along the southern edge of the quadrat, while Chris Bierman (AU'14, Biology) and Cassie Nix watch for small fires outside the plot boundaries

Cassie Nix puts water on a hotspot at the SE corner
The head fire (traveling with the wind) did not last long.
The burn site when finished.

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