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City of Bloomington, Indiana

About

The Bloomington Park and Recreation Foundation (now known as the Bloomington Parks Foundation) on behalf of the City of Bloomington, accepted a donation of 31.5 acres of land known as the "Goat Farm", valued at more than $870,000, from the Sherman Rogers family on June 19, 2007.

According to the donation agreement, the deed to the Goat Farm property will be held by the Foundation, while the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department will manage the area solely for public recreational purposes and passive green space.

The Foundation also agreed that protecting water quality in Jackson Creek, which runs through the property, will remain one of the Goat Farm's primary functions.

Details

Goat Farm Prairie Project

The Bloomington Environmental Commission asked the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department to consider creating a native prairie planting at one of its properties. 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.

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.

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 in spring 2017. 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.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife will both contribute expertise and resources toward the prairie project.