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Last updated 16 Sep 2014


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Field Trips to

Ohio’s Largest Hidden Prairies

Two field trips into NASA’s Plum Brook Station, just south of Sandusky (Erie County), are scheduled, 2pm Sunday 28 Sep, and 2pm Sunday 26 Oct.


Plum Brook Station is 6400 acres (10 sq mi), an active, secured NASA aerospace facilities site with the world’s largest thermal vacuum chamber — the giant dome there, a unique cryogenic space-environment rocket engine hot-fire test chamber, and much more.

But surrounding the NASA facilities within the fence are large expanses of natural forests, oak savannas, and tallgrass prairies, all of which are being restored. Up to 3000 acres of native tallgrass prairie are being restored in what will become the largest tallgrass prairie restoration in Ohio, if not the Midwest.

Crucially, no herbicides were ever used in the natural ecosystems at Plum Brook Station. Until 1941, when the area was taken by eminent domain for use as the Plum Brook Ordnance works — where over 1 billion pounds of TNT and other explosives were manufactured for Allied use in WWII — traditional farms utilized the productive dark prairie soils of the site, much of which was on the original Firelands Prairie (No 4 on this page).

Consequently, remnants of the original presettlement prairie remained in hedgerows, ditches, and scattered corners. From these, native prairie seeds have been collected and are being used to create prairies of hundreds of acres, which eventually will connect in several large prairie islands, surrounded by oak forests and savannas. Several state-listed prairie species have been discovered at Plum Brook and are now being planted and restored.

For more information, and to pre-register (required) go here.