The Indiana Insider Blog

Prairie Harvest Weekend at Potato Creek State Park

Indiana Tourism welcomes today’s guest blogger, Tim Cordell:

Tim Cordell - DNRTim Cordell is an interpretive naturalist at Potato Creek State Park. He has worked for DNR since 1978 at Potato Creek, McCormick’s Creek and Spring Mill State Parks. Tim plays an active role in the park’s resource management as well as running the nature center and park programming.

Igniting a prescribed prairie fire.

Prescribed fires are used to manage the prairie. Come find out the details!

Are you looking for something different to do as you enjoy the crisp fall air and anticipate the coming beauty of the trees fall color display? If so, Potato Creek State Park will be offering several fall themed programs during its annual Prairie Harvest Weekend, September 24-25. Saturday will start out with a Prescribed Fire Demonstration. The Park uses prescribed fires as a management tool to maintain the prairies. This program will discuss the planning involved in conducting one of these burns and then demonstrate some of the fire tools and principles, weather permitting. After hearing about how the prairies are managed you will want to be sure to check out the unique prairie maze cut into one of the plantings. More information about the maze can be found here (PDF).

Saturday afternoon will be the time to get creative with some fall crafts.

Scarecrow team

Get together a team and enter the scarecow decorating contest.

You will have the opportunity to make a leaf print bandana at 1 pm. Using silk screen ink in various colors and leaves and other natural items your fall masterpiece will emerge. Fall is also the time for “wooly-watching.” Learn a little about the fuzzy wooly bear caterpillars and then create one of your own to take home with you. The afternoon will be rounded out by a scarecrow decorating contest. Get together a team and come get creative to win a prize! There will be a limited number of scarecrows, so sign up early. Sign-up begins at 9am at the Potato Creek Nature Center.

Sunday will focus on the park’s prairie restoration efforts. Join the park naturalist for an easy walk Sunday morning to see and learn more about the tall grass prairie of the past and the park’s efforts to restore it. The weekend’s program will conclude Sunday afternoon with a talk on the status of the tall grass prairie. A detailed schedule of the weekend’s events can be found here (PDF).  There is a material fee for the craft programs but the programs are free of charge beyond the normal park admission fee. A list of those fees can be found here.

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Written by : The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) manages a wide variety of state-owned lands that are available for all sorts outdoor recreation activities. Staff are charged with managing and interpreting the natural and cultural resources of these sites, and with regulating lake and stream usage, fish, wildlife, oil, gas and coal and Indiana's archeological and historic resources. For more information about the DNR or careers in natural resources, visit