Stop 21: Outdoor Learning Center

Directions: Go north on Pioneer to E1090, turn right and follow the road for about ½ mile to the gated entrance on the left. Foot access is allowed during the day, and arrangements can be made in advance to drive onto the tract by contacting the chamber of commerce at 800-280-0207.

This small prairie trail has a pond that attracts ducks and shorebirds such as Killdeer. Butterflies and dragonflies are plentiful here. En route to the learning center, watch the roadsides in fall for explosions of sunflowers and other blooms, which attract Clouded Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, Red Admiral, and a variety of other butterflies. The pond in the learning center provides habitat for soft-shelled turtles, and grassland birds such as Lark Sparrow, Field Sparrow, and Vesper Sparrow should be looked for here. Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, and wintering raptors such as Prairie Falcon, Ferruginous Hawk, and Rough-legged Hawk can be seen here as well. Expect occasional sightings of Northern Rough-winged Swallow and numerous Barn Swallows in all seasons except winter. The walking trail is short, easy, and pleasant, particularly on cool days. An open area allows for outdoor instruction and for groups.

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black kettle grassland