Five miles south of Red Cloud, Nebraska, the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie is a botanical treasure consisting of 608 acres of never-been-plowed native prairie.
The Willa Cather Foundation is returning this land to its pre-1900 conditions, a time before overgrazing and the encroachment of man and foreign plant species. We have estimated that a minimum of 250 plant species exist on the Prairie, including the rare Fremont's evening primrose and Fendler's aster - both candidates for "threatened" status by the Nebraska Natural Heritage Program.
The area is classified as loess, mixed-grass prairie, and is unique in that it brings together species at the southern edge of their range with those at the northern edge of their range.
The transitional location of the Prairie makes it home to several species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Two rare species that exist on the land include the Great Plains narrowmouth toad and smooth green snake.
The importance of the prairie in shaping America's art, history, and culture has been lost to much of the world. Of the millions of acres of grasslands that once covered the continent, only a small percentage still remains.
The Willa Cather Memorial Prairie is home to a variety of beautiful
bird species, and is recognized as a Nebraska Bird Site by the Nebraska
Teaming with Wildlife Coalition. On the Prairie, bird watchers can view
meadowlarks, upland plovers, wood ducks, blue-winged teals, bluebirds,
assorted sparrows, grouse, turkeys, orchard orioles, and more.
Nearly two miles of walking and hiking trails are now cut and open for the
public. Nature lovers can enjoy areas of tall grass, short grass, warm season
flowers, shrubbery and more.
Come visit us in Red Cloud, Nebraska