The Midwest’s native ecosystem depends on land management from large herbivores. When introduced and moved strategically, grazing animals like sheep and cattle can be effective tools for creating diverse wildlife habitat, removing invasive plant species, and increasing soil health. This practice is known as conservation grazing, which can support prairie reconstruction if utilized thoughtfully and correctly.
In partnership with Good Oak, a small herd of heritage cattle alongside sheep will strategically rotate to graze and reconstruct 276 acres of property not utilized as part of the public botanical garden. This acreage is certified by the National Audubon Society’s Conservation Ranching Initiative.
As an Audubon Certified bird-friendly habitat, the rotational grazing at Powell Gardens is designed to help grassland birds, the fastest-declining bird species group in North America. Dickcissels, Eastern Meadowlarks and Henslow’s Sparrows are species that stand to benefit from an improved grassland habitat mosaic.
For more information regarding this initiative also check out our Frequently Asked Questions below.