Land Conservation

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 1,200 acres of unproductive pasture land to restored native grasses and wildflowers. Funded through grants from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) and the Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS), the project has returned the land to the prairie appearance that existed prior to the Shakers’ settlement of the area.

The property’s diverse natural areas also include vast forests, reminiscent of woodlands that once dotted Kentucky’s landscape. Throughout Shaker Village, 440 native herbaceous and woody plants, including several rare species, have been identified. Shaker Village’s expanding arboretum program includes more than 50 documented native tree species, including the endemic Yellowwood Tree along the Kentucky River Palisades. Other tree species include the Shumard Oak, Chinquapin Oak, Black Walnut and Tulip Popular.


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 the highest concentration 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.


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


Today, wild Kentucky quail are rare and populations large enough to hunt are even fewer. Once a year, Shaker Village offers the public the opportunity to hunt wild quail in its native habitat. Proceeds from The Heritage Hunt for Bobwhite help Shaker Village maintain this native Kentucky habitat. Habitat management requires significant funding to conduct regular controlled burns, herbicide treatments, plantings and monitoring.

Controlled Hunt Details

Drawing Date: October 17, 2018
Hunt Date: December 5 + 6, 2018
Raffle Tickets: $20 each or $100 for six

One winner will receive:

  • Two full-day hunts for winner and one guest
  • One night at The Inn, plus meals at The Trustees’ Table for two
  • Hunt guide and dogs upon request

Winner will be notified by phone. Valid in 2018 only. Kentucky hunting license, gun and ammunition not provided.

Purchase tickets.

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