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Steve Cotter, Natural Resources Manager, City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, 812.349.3700 or

Goat Farm Prairie Receives Indiana Park and Recreation Association Award

Bloomington, Ind.-The Indiana Park and Recreation Association, at their annual conference in Fort Wayne last week, presented the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department with the Clark Ketchum Conservation Award for the Goat Farm Prairie project.

The Clark Ketchum Conservation Award recognizes a park and recreation agency that has achieved excellence in conservation stewardship.

The Goat Farm Prairie project, launched by Bloomington Parks and Recreation in 2017, involved converting a five-acre field of fescue at the city park known as the "Goat Farm" into a prairie with native grasses and wildflowers.

City parks staff began applying herbicide to the fescue field last spring to remove the established fescue as well as woody plants and invasive shrubs. The area will be periodically mowed this year following seeding of native plants to ensure the natives will be successfully established.

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. Bird species at the Goat Farm, including chimney swifts and bluebirds, will also benefit from the increased food sources the prairie will provide.

Natural resources coordinator Elizabeth Tompkins, who accepted the award on behalf of the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, thanked the people of Bloomington for their ongoing support for natural areas in city parks.

"We are grateful to the people of Bloomington for their commitment to ensuring our parks provide a place where pollinators can thrive," she said.

Tompkins also recognized the Department's partners in the Goat Farm Prairie Project. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife have each contributed resources toward creating the Goat Farm Prairie.