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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Kicking Off Spring

Welcome back to the Berry Prairie!  After a nice, long winter, we are keeping our eyes on the ground in anticipation of the spring green up.  Last spring, our first plant that flowered was the Draba - and it flowered on March 30!  This year, it's been cooler and most plants are still dormant, not even close to flowering.

For the Newbies

For those of your new to this blog, a little background.  The Berry Prairie is a green roof atop the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center in Laramie, Wyoming.  It was installed in June 2010 after the construction of the Berry Center, with the intent of maximizing climate control of the Vertebrate Collection below.  

Unlike many green roofs that have 1 or 2 species of sedum, this green roof was designed to mimic a native Wyoming prairie, so all of the 62 species of plants found on the roof are native to 25ish miles around Laramie.  Just like prairies around Laramie, the majority of the individual plants are grasses.  However, there are 44 species of wildflowers in the green roof - quite diverse indeed!

Class Kicks off the Visitor Season

A class at the University of Wyoming, Principle of Range Management, taught by Dr. Melanie Murphy, was one of the first groups to visit the Berry Prairie this year.  They spent time surveying the Prairie for vegetation types, signs of erosion, soil surface, and other range-type factors.  The green roof is one of multiple sites the class is surveying, and data from each year's class will be collated and appended to a long-term database of information. 

There are other groups planning to come to the Berry Prairie this spring, and of course all visitors are welcome - staying on the path is required!  Come find us in Berry Center 231 if you have any questions, we'd love to chat!

Written by Brenna Marsicek, Biodiversity Institute

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