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Bloomington Parks and Recreation Holding Goat Farm Prairie Project Information Meeting October 19

DRAFT NOT FOR RELEASE
October 17, 2016

For more information, please contact:
Steve Cotter, Natural Resources Manager, City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, 812.349.3736 or cotters@bloomington.in.gov

Bloomington, Ind.-The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department will hold a public information meeting on Oct. 19 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Childs Elementary School, 2211 S. High St., to discuss details of creating a prairie at the city park known as the Goat Farm.

Members of the public are welcome and invited to attend to learn more about the proposed prairie project, and to share opinions about the project.

According to Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department natural resources manager Steve Cotter, the Bloomington Environmental Commission asked the Department to create a native prairie planting at the Goat Farm. A prairie that includes a diversity of plant species is beneficial to pollinators, or animals that move pollen from one part of the flower of a plant to another part. Common pollinator species include bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, spiders, flies, and wasps.

"A prairie will provide visual interest for visitors, as well as nectar and larval food sources for pollinators," Cotter said. "The chimney swifts using the chimney swift towers at the Goat Farm, and the bluebirds in the park's bluebird boxes, will also benefit from the increased food sources the prairie will provide. In addition, prairie plants will help strain flood debris and improve the water quality of Jackson Creek."

Cotter added that a mowed path around the proposed prairie, next to the Jackson Creek Trail, and around the Goat Farm barn will allow park users safe access to those places.

The planned five-acre prairie will replace the current field of fescue that is growing in the Goat Farm between Winslow Road and the Goat Farm barn. The fescue must be completely removed with a treatment of herbicide before the prairie is planted with a mixture of native grasses and wildflowers next spring.

[See a map of the proposed prairie area.|file:C2_Proposed_Prairie_map.pdf]

The current maintenance plan calls for removal of woody plants and invasive species from the site, and for periodic mowing of the new prairie to prevent taller grasses from shading out smaller species.

Cotter said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife will both contribute cost-share funds toward the prairie project.

For more information on the Goat Farm prairie project, or about the public information meeting on Oct. 19, call Steve Cotter at 812.349.3736 or e-mail cotters@bloomington.in.gov.

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