Keeping the prairie alive: Natural resources team provides restoration workshops

  • Published
  • By Destiny Washington
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 72nd Civil Engineering Natural Resources Team designed and hosted a native prairie restoration workshop at Tinker Air Force Base on Nov. 3.

For more than 20 years, Tinker AFB has been successfully converting urban turfgrass spaces to native mixed grass prairie. This workshop aims to share native prairie restoration techniques and equip others to restore prairies in urban areas.

The initial workshop in 2022 was intended to be a one-time event but outside interest led to a second workshop in 2023.

30 attendees were present from various areas of the state including the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, City of Oklahoma City, City of Tulsa, OKC Community Foundation, Eckroat Seed Company, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Dyess AFB, Altus AFB, landscape architect firms, private landowners, and more.

Attendees started the day with a conference room session followed by an onsite tour of base prairie restoration areas at various stages of development.

“It filled in a lot of blanks in how to go about prairie restoration,” said Heather Michaelson-Hale, from City of Tulsa Parks.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service the Great Plains are the world’s most imperiled and least conserved ecosystem. These grasslands are experiencing greater proportions of biodiversity loss than any other ecosystem and the magnitude of grassland loss is causing a landscape-scale collapse that threatens communities, industries, and wildlife.

“Tinker lies within this grassland biome,” said John Krupovage, Natural Resources Manager. “We are doing our part to restore and conserve these grasslands and use our experience to help others to do the same.”

Krupovage adds that he enjoys meeting people with a common interest and helping them achieve their dreams and goals.

“The workshop was very informational. It gave me a jumpstart in my personal prairie transformation,” said Brandon McGouldrick, future private landowner.

The 72nd Civil Engineering Natural Resources Team is anticipating hosting this workshop again in 2024.