Frank L. and Lillian Pokorny Memorial Prairie
The Frank L. and Lillian Pokorny Memorial Prairie includes 20 acres of virgin prairie and 20 acres of adjoining cropland that has been restored to prairie. The former cropland has developed into a diverse assemblage of grasses and wildflowers and complements the existing native prairie.
Prairie Plains received the Frank L. and Lillian Pokorny Memorial Prairie in 2002 as a gift from Gene and Margaret Pokorny. Gene grew up nearby; the 20-acre virgin prairie was a part of his parents' farm. In addition to the virgin prairie, their gift included 20 acres of adjoining cropland to the north of the original prairie. The cropland half of the preserve is the site of a highly successful prairie restoration planting completed in the spring of 2003. Seeds from many tallgrass prairie species were harvested during 2002 from existing eastern Nebraska prairie remnants and roadsides and then were sown into soybean stubble. With timely rainfall, the planting proved a rapid success. Seeds for additional PPRI prairie restoration efforts in northeast Nebraska — at Ponca State Park and another site in Wayne County — have been harvested from the virgin prairie.
The south half (20 acres) of the Pokorny Memorial Prairie is a rare natural and historic landmark because it exists on highly productive cropland soil yet has never been broken for crop production. Native prairies such as this are extremely rare in eastern Nebraska. The prairie contains many typical tallgrass prairie species, including big bluestem, Indian grass, switchgrass, leadplant, prairie clover and wild rose, to name but a few. Common wildlife at Pokorny Prairie includes grasshopper sparrows, meadowlarks, dickcissels, bobolinks, badgers, coyotes, foxes and many smaller mammals.
Stewardship activities since 2002 have included tree and shrub cutting along the fencerows, constructing a new perimeter fence, installing a livestock well and conducting a series of prescribed burns. Burning, grazing and woody plant cutting will be part of the long-term management plan for this preserve to combat the accumulative negative effects on the native plant community of non-native smooth brome and tree or shrub encroachment into the grassland.
Latitude/Longitude: 41.608 -97.109