Minnesota Prairie

Sunsets though big bluestem on a Minnesota prairie.

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Adapted from the French word meaning meadow, prairie is much more than a field of grasses and wildflowers. Native prairie refers to an ecosystem of interconnected plants, animals, soils, climate and cultures. Native prairie is a landscape where climate and disturbance over thousands of years have favored grassland over forest.

Prairies were once the largest continuous ecosystem in North America, but today they are one of the continent's most endangered habitats. The near elimination of native prairies and savannas (prairie with scattered trees) has inspired many efforts to protect remaining parcels.


Children running up a hill on a visit to a Minnesota prairie.

Visit Minnesota Prairies

The best way to experience prairie is to get out there and visit one! See, smell, feel and hear native prairies and grasslands at public lands across the state. To get even more involved, volunteer! Then, when you need some down time, explore with your imagination by reading a prairie story or listening to the Prairie Pod.

Burn crew professional monitors a prescribed burn on a Minnesota prairie.

Conserve and Manage Prairies

Creating a plan is the first step to conserve  and manage prairies. We have written a statewide plan that helps guide prairie preservation and restoration for Minnesota. Site management plans (prairie stewardship plans) can help landowners with technical advice and can open doors to financial support and other assistance to preserve or restore prairie.

A tractor with a seed harvester on a Minnesota prairie.

Create and Restore Prairies

Prairie restoration is a complicated science. Restoration techniques have improved as we continue to learn more about these complex ecosystems. Existing native prairie remnants serve as a model to help all of us learn.

Visitors on a field visit to learn about a Minnesota prairie.

Learn about Prairie

Are you new to prairies? Or are you a prairie expert? No matter your knowledge or expertise, you can learn something here about prairies and savannas. Find out how prairie provides essential habitat for native plants and wildlife. You may be surprised to find the many ways that prairies benefit people too.

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