Camping in the Prairie


Native Gardener
Jun 13, 2014
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United States
I recently got back from a few days of camping in the largest managed prairie in this part of Wisconsin. Surprisingly, this was my first time there. I had a great time exploring it. From hiking, to biking, to canoeing. The area, known as Richard Bong Recreation Area, was originally planned to be Richard Bong Air Force base, but construction stopped just three days before concrete was set to be poured for the runway in 1959. It was abandoned and ultimately destined to be the park and habitat that it is today.

The prairie has many of the same species I grow in my native garden, and I left more inspired than ever. I hope to continue improving my garden, and my goal will be to imitate this prairie as closely as I can in the 1000 square feet I have to work with.

Every camping trip for me is really a photography trip. Here are some of my favorite photos from this adventure.

Sandhill Crane
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This section of the park is dedicated to a wildlife sanctuary. No recreational activities allowed. Here is a panorama showing the entire sanctuary as seen from a small observation tower. It's mostly wetland habitat with prairie around the edges. During my time there, I saw Double-crested Cormorants, Great Egrets, and Great Blue Herons. There's no telling what else might be out there.
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The trails through the prairie were my favorite. Summer-blooming species were in full bloom, so there was a lot of color to be seen, and a lot of pollinator activity.

Smooth Oxeye
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Wild Bergamot
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Rattlesnake Master
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Bee on Butterflyweed (with a Monarch Butterfly in the background)
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Gray-headed Coneflower and Blazing Star
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Rattlesnake Master
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Pale Purple Coneflower with Wolf Lake in the distance
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Wild Bergamot
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Monarch Butterfly on Swamp Milkweed
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Pale Purple Coneflower
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Lead Plant - my first time seeing this specie in person. I'm definitely going to look into getting this specie for my garden in the future.
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Great Egret flying over one of the many ponds on the property. I counted at least 20 ponds during my time there, and I know there were many more that I didn't get to see.
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Canoeing on Wolf Lake.
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If you're interested, you can see all of my photos on this slideshow:



Mar 20, 2017
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United Kingdom
Coor! I love that yellow bird.. and I am twitching! How come we only have grass in our park .. Never showy flowers like echinaceas!??

Nice milkweeds and butterfly weeds, too! Thank you for sharing!

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