Micro-prairie: A Cooperative Grasslands
Learning Lab


Pat Boehmer, Paul Hendrickson, Eric Bock, Allan Pfliger, and Vern Anderson

Carrington High School, Natural Resources Conservation Service,
and Carrington Research Extension Center



n the fall of 2001, the ecology class of Carrington High School completed the work to establish the Native Prairie Grass Outdoor Classroom.  The outdoor learning lab is located along US Highway 281 on the south-east corner of the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center at the entrance road to the Livestock Unit.  One objective of the year-long outdoor classroom project was to bring high school students in contact with some of the vegetation native to the prairies of North Dakota.  The long term goal of the project is to provide an outdoor classroom for CHS classes in field biology, genetics, ecology, agricultural education, and other disciplines as well as a site for community use, such as 4-H clubs, rancher tours, NRCS events, and Research Center Field Days.


This project has been in the planning stages for a number of years but actual work on the site began in the spring of 2001 when the genetics class of Carrington High School planted five cool season grasses and eight warm season grasses on the site.  Cool season grasses included Canada wildrye, green needlegrass, needle and thread grass, slender wheatgrass, and western wheatgrass.  The warm season grasses include prairie sandreed, Indian grass, switchgrass, blue grama, buffalo grass, little bluestem, sideoats grama, and big bluestem.  The ecology class at Carrington High School added landscape timbers, posts, and identifying signs by each grass plot. 


Partial funding for the project was provided by an OWLS grant from the North Dakota Dept. of Game and Fish.  On side coordination was conducted by Pat Boehmer from Carrington High School, and Paul Hendrickson and Eric Bock from the Research Center.  Alan Pfliger of the Foster County Natural Resources Conservation Service and Vern Anderson of the Research Center also contributed to the project. 


This site is part of a continuing effort to bring students out of the classroom to interact up close with nature and learn the importance of nature to the health of the environment around them.



Carrington Research Extension Center

Carrington High School

Natural Resource Conservation Service

Micro Prairie Grass Plots Cooperative Project





NDSU Vice President,
Dean and Director for Agricultural Affairs
NDSU Extension Service ND Agricultural
Experiment Station
NDSU College of Agriculture NDSU College of Human Development and Education