Prairie garden planned at airport

This section of land at the Hannibal Regional Airport will be home to a large prairie garden, thanks to combined efforts between the Master Naturalists group and Hannibal Parks and Recreation. A controlled burn is planned for later in the fall with assistance from a Master Naturalists specialist.

HANNIBAL — Several years ago the Hannibal Board of Public Works contemplated building a solar farm on some open land at Hannibal Regional Airport. The Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department is planning on creating something more natural at the airport, a prairie garden.

“We are going to develop a large wildflower prairie garden out there,” said Andy Dorian, the city’s director of central services, during the March meeting of the Hannibal Park Board. “It is going to be fairly large, at least the size of a football field.

“It is a nice area out there. It will be cool. It is another neat thing we are working on.”

The prairie garden should be thick with butterflies, considering all of the insects which already visit that area.

“We have a lot of Monarch butterflies out there already because we have a lot of natural growing milkweed,” Dorian said.

Butterflies will not be the only winged creature that the prairie garden should attract. According to Dorian, several bluebird nest boxes that have been created by Jim Current and donated to the parks department will be placed at the airport.

“It is always nice to have people from the community get involved in things like this,” Dorian said, adding that the creation of the prairie garden is being done in partnership with the Master Naturalists.

While unsure of an exact timeline for the creation of the airport prairie garden, Dorian knows what the first step in the process will entail.

“The goal right now is to do at some point a controlled burn like the state would do, so we are going to have a consultant through the Master Naturalists to help us with that,” he said. “The controlled burn will be later in the fall. It is something we are working on.”

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