In 1994, Vinland’s property looked like others in the area, mainly farmland and fields. Vinland Board member and former State Legislator Ted Suss suggested that we restore the fields to prairie and wetlands, and Board Chair Jerry Seck encouraged him to find a way to make it happen. In June 1994, Vinland entered in to a Wildlife Management Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop 109 acres to what, at the time, was the largest privately owned prairie restoration in Minnesota. Also contributing to the restoration was the City of Independence, Peterson Seed Company, Delta Waterfowl Association, the Hadley Companies, Pheasants Forever, Bruce Miller, Hennepin Department of Environmental Services, Natural Resource Conservation Services, Minnesota Waterfowl Association, and Hennepin Conservation District.
As I look out my window, I can see that the prairie is thriving. Not only is it beautiful, but every day we see the environmental impact through the grasses, flowers and abundant wildlife. We also see the therapeutic effect the prairie has on our clients, whether they are snowshoeing, walking the trails, or playing Frisbee golf. There is a peacefulness in being surrounded by nature, and for many of our clients, this is their first opportunity to experience nature.
At our Winter Walkabout snowshoe event in February, we were worried about not having any snow. We soon found out that exploring the prairie is just as enjoyable, whether you are on snowshoes or tennis shoes.
Thank you to all that contributed in creating this beautiful prairie, and know that it has impacted many lives.