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Remembering and Celebrating an American Icon at Bison Fest

In honor of National Bison Day on November 6th, come visit our bison herd out at Botna Bend Park and learn more about this magnificent species, the conservation efforts that help preserve them and their important relationship with prairie ecosystems.

Swing by Botna Bend Park on Saturday, November 6th between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for fun, family-friendly activities, including:

  • Botna Bend’s live bison herd
  • Atlatl and bison chip throwing
  • Local food from Feed Trough
  • Bison wool spinning
  • Hay rack rides
  • Bison artifacts
  • Storytelling
  • Crafts
  • Fossil hunting - Learn how to search for and find fossils along the West Nishnabotna River
  • Bison's Role on the Prairie Presentation - Learn how bison support vital prairie ecosystems

This event is free with a $3 park entry fee or an annual permit. Please bring a few extra dollars (cash) for bison chili, chicken noodle soup, fries and funnel fries, all of which is being graciously provided by Feed Trough on a freewill donation basis. Thank you Feed Trough!

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Bison: Then and Now

The relationship between bison and the prairie goes back as far as we can see, but both have been decimated by our own hands. In honor of National Bison Day, it’s time to celebrate that relationship and remember the past to prevent history from repeating itself.

Early in our American history, bison were wiped out to the brink of extinction by man - from an estimated 30-60 million to less than 1,000. 

Image: Photograph from the mid-1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer. Detroit Public Library, Burton Historical Collection.
Image: Photograph from the mid-1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer. Detroit Public Library, Burton Historical Collection.

Fueled by westward expansion, this detrimental hunt took place over the course of about 50 years. New settlers also quickly learned that Native American tribes relied heavily on bison for their survival, which they used to devastate and control Native American society in order to take over and establish railroads, towns and business.

Today, conservation efforts have increased bison herds to ~220,000 across the country, but their genetics, ecology and behavior are nowhere near their former glory. At Pottawattamie Conservation we see this every day in our work to restore and maintain prairie ecosystems.

At Bison Fest you can learn from this land’s history, build respect for the species that call it home and have a little fun too. We hope you join us!

Image: A few of our Botna Bend bison herd members. Photos taken in 2021.

 

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