Discover Conservation at Work Every Day
Kentucky was once covered by millions of acres of native grasslands. The prairie ecosystem is now one of the rarest plant communities in North America, having been largely destroyed by modern land use practices. Exemplifying the Shaker legacy of concerned care for the land, Shaker Village has converted 1,000 acres of unproductive pasture land to native grasses and wildflowers. Established in partnership with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), the Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the project improved habitat for native plants and animal communities.
The property’s diverse natural areas also include forests, reminiscent of woodlands once covering Kentucky’s landscape. Throughout Shaker Village, 500 native herbaceous and woody plants, including several rare species, have been identified. Shaker Village’s tree planting program includes more than 50 documented native tree species, including the endemic yellowwood along the Kentucky River Palisades. Other tree species include the Shumard oak, chinquapin oak, black walnut and tulip poplar.
THE RESULTS OF OUR EFFORTS
Discover a Model of Land, Habitat and Wildlife Restoration
Wildlife habitats returned. Insects, songbirds and mammals have thrived. A dramatic increase in several declining bird populations has occurred including northern bobwhite quail, Henslow’s sparrow, dickcissels, blue grosbeaks and grasshopper sparrows. The Preserve is now one of the premier birdwatching areas in the state.
Successful model identified. KDFWR reports that Shaker Village is home to one of the highest concentrations of native wild northern bobwhite quail in Kentucky. As a result, Shaker Village is recognized nationally as a model for successful habitat restoration.
Land conservation enhanced. Unproductive lands are improving through soil erosion control and nutrient enrichment from decaying plants.
Learning laboratory established. Shaker Village has become a research station for local, state and federal conservation partners.
LEARNING FROM OUR SUCCESS
See How Our Methods Inspire Others
Many Shaker Village neighbors throughout the region are using our model to convert their own lands to native prairies.
The conversion process includes the following steps:
- Fields are allowed to grow without mowing for one year to build biomass for prescribed burns the following winter.
- Non-native invasive plants are eradicated with controlled fire and herbicide applications.
- Native grass and wildflower seeds are planted 0.25-inch deep with a no-till drill.
- Oftentimes, invasive plants (Thistle, Johnson Grass, Poison Hemlock, Hairy Vetch, Osage Orange) germinate from seed banks that have been dormant in the soil for many years. Selective spraying, mowing and prescribed burns are used to eliminate the undesirable plants.
- As the native grasses and wildflowers become firmly established, the invasive species will be crowded out
The Preserve is a vibrant and diverse habitat for native plants and animal communities. Habitat management includes regular prescribed burns, herbicide treatments, plantings and monitoring. In addition, wildlife management through controlled hunts helps to sustain a healthier animal population.
Proceeds from hunting activities help Shaker Village provide the needed maintenance to create a sustainable system so future generations may enjoy Kentucky's flora and fauna.
Each year we offer limited hunting experiences including a Spring Turkey Hunt, November Deer Hunt and a Heritage Hunt for Bobwhite Quail in December. A ticket lottery for the quail hunt is held in October.