Dunn Ranch is the home of bison, prairie chickens and a variety of native wildflowers. The Nature Conservancy as it is today is the result of over a decade of conservational work. The location is perfect for conservation because over 1000 acres were never plowed and have over 40 inches of topsoil. Bison (Bison bison) were reintroduced to the park in 2011, and the endangered Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka) in 2013. Dunn Ranch also has many forms of flora and is one of the few homes of prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) in Missouri “Dunn Ranch Prairie”).
This place was gorgeous and the whole time I felt like a settler, rancher, and explorer roaming the prairie. I could vividly picture early Americans and Native Indians crossing the Great Plains and following the herds of bison. Dunn Ranch rekindled my love affair with the American West and my desire to one day live on the prairie. Maybe I’ll even tend my own herd of bison.
Entry by John Evan Lee
We arrived to Dunn Ranch pretty late after showing up at a random house on another W. 180th St. We camped on the lawn outside the main office, then woke up early the next morning to pack up and get ready to see the prairie chickens! Dunn Ranch had set up a little viewing trailer right on the edge of their booming ground, so we had prime seats! It was still dark when we arrived, so we set up and waited for them to come and the sun to start rising. Finally, just before dawn, we heard them start making their calls. It was still dark so we couldn’t see them well, but we could vaguely see their outlines so we knew they were there! As it started getting lighter we used the binoculars to get a better look; we could see the bright colors on their puffed out necks and their funny little dance! Unfortunately, just as it was starting to get light enough to see them, something (most likely a hawk or some predatory bird) came into their sight so they hunkered down and stopped performing the ritual. We still got a couple good glimpses of the dance, though, so it was certainly worth it!
Entry by Annie Gocke