Prior to European settlement, tall grass prairie covered one million square kilometres in central North America, stretching from Texas to southern Manitoba. Today, tall grass prairie is all but gone. Only 1/20th of 1% of the original tall grass prairie remains in Manitoba. The Living Prairie Museum is one of the few remaining fragments of this once vast ecosystem.
the living prairie museum
The Living Prairie Museum is a 13 hectare tall grass prairie preserve in Winnipeg. Set aside in 1968, the preserve is home to more than 150 different grass and wildflower species and an array of prairie wildlife.
The museum interpretive centre houses a gallery of exhibits, a bookstore/gift shop, and an observation deck with an excellent view of the preserve. The interpretive centre opens annually with the blooming of Manitoba's provincial flower, the prairie crocus, and remains open until mid October. Everyone is welcome to go for a hike on the museum's self-guided trail year-round from dawn until dusk.
The goal of Living Prairie Museum is to provide awareness and conservation of natural areas, specifically tall grass prairie, through environmental education. Throughout the year, museum staff are available for guided hikes and environmental educational programs for youth. A variety of special events, including the Monarch Butterfly Festival, volunteer seed collecting and habitat maintenance, Thursday Theme Days, Prairie Planting Workshops, Prairie Plant Sales, and the Winter Speaker Series, offer many opportunities for the public to learn about prairie conservation and celebrate this rare habitat.
Friends of the Living Prairie Museum
The Friends of the Living Prairie Museum exist to support the Living Prairie Museum in fulfilling its mission of conservation and education through fundraising, promotion, and maintenance of the preserve. The Friends seek funding for special projects, such as prairie seed propagation and pollinator conservation, while also funding the wages of student prairie technicians in the summer. The Friends assist in habitat maintenance through volunteer events, including seed collecting, plantings, weed pull parties, and brush and waste removal.
Friends of Living Prairie Museum also engage the public through community events. Public outreach, including refreshment sales at museum events, distributing free milkweed for monarch butterflies, and promoting museum programs and special events, helps to introduce the museum to new visitors and potential members.
visit the prairie
Find out about the exciting year-round activities offered at the Living Prairie Museum.
In 1968, the International Biological Program (an international organization dedicated to the identification and preservation of rare biological communities) sent researchers around Manitoba looking for good examples of tall grass prairie.
Of the 64 sites examined, four were chosen for closer scrutiny. Of those four, The Living Prairie Museum site was one of the best examples of tall grass prairie in the province. Local naturalists and environmentalists, including Mr. Bob Nero, Dr. Jennifer Shay, Dr. Karen Johnson, and many more, spent a great deal of time and energy campaigning for the preservation of the site.
It wasn't until April 21, 1971 that City Council made a decision to set aside land for the museum. At 87 years old, Winnipeg citizen Mr. Pete DeWet convinced the council to preserve the site by just one vote. In 1975, sod was turned for a new interpretive centre on approximately three acres of the preserve. It was officially opened on June 23, 1976.
While a group of devoted museum supporters have existed since the 1970s, Museum staff worked with the City of Winnipeg and museum supporters to officially incorporate the Friends of the Living Prairie Museum in 2010. The Friends have assisted in promoting and protecting the museum and its rare prairie habitat ever since.
museum staff AND DIRECTORS
LIVING PRAIRIE MUSEUM STAFF
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FRIENDS OF THE LIVING PRAIRIE MUSEUM BOARD OF DIRECTORS