Minnesota Master Naturalist, Matt Kubly, led a hike through the Prairie Smoke School Nature Area (PSSNA) this past Saturday, July 20th. There were 5 attendees, including Matt. We spent 2 hours marveling at the sheer diversity and abundance of species in this small habitat. The PSSNA is located at the north end of 11th Street (north off of HWY 212, 3 blocks past Winter Park) in Granite Falls.
- Perhaps a group of concerned citizen-naturalists can meet up with the school and other responsible entities to devise a plan for restoration and maintenance. It would be nice to have some expertise from local DNR folks as well as cooperation from local parks departments, Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) and Pezuta Zizi Cultural and Environmental Learning and Resource Center (such as it is, now with very few volunteers and Terri Dinesen now working at Lac qui Parle State Park).
- It would be great to get a survey done of plant species-we could start with local knowledge and then look for professional expertise. I think there may be some more rare species, that have been lost to the plow in the surrounding area.
- Matt had mentioned a possible invasive plants removal work day for Sept. 28th, which is “Public Lands Day”. It may be too early in the season to effectively stump treat the woody species; buckthorn and honeysuckle, but there is plenty of alternative work to be done. My greatest concern is getting the spotted knapweed positively identified and controlled, before it becomes a more serious concern, It is currently in flower, so a bit of prevention now, even if it is just removing the flower heads to prevent seeding, would be ideal.
If anyone has advice on who to approach for the current maintenance and responsibility of PSSNA, and any other thoughts or comments, please get back email Megan at and Cc Matt: or leave a comment below.