Past Field Days

* please scroll down to find information from previous field tours back to 2012 *

The following field days have separate summary pages:


Case Studies of Fire in Prairies, Oak Savannas and Woodlands:

Exploring Diverse Objectives and Initial Outcomes Across Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri (June 14-15, 2016)

Discoveries from a 37-Year-Long Prescribed Fire Research Program:

Effects on Vegetation, Insects, and Small Mammals - Omaha, Nebraska (Sept. 10, 2015)

Research and Restoration in an Oak Savanna-Fen Mosaic:

Exploring Pollinator and Plant Response to Oak Savanna Restoration Treatments at MacCready Reserve, Jackson, Michigan (August 17, 2016)

Short Field Day Summaries:


Fire Ecology and Research in an Active Wildland-Urban Interface

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Porter, Indiana - Sept. 12, 2017

These field day featured long-term fire research sites, wildfire effects, and prescribed fire units in this 15,000 acre park, one of the most biologically diverse in the national park system.

Presenters from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and National Park Service (NPS) shared insights from their research, fire management (prescribed fire and wildfire response), and monitoring.

Topics included:

  • fire history,
  • long-term research in oak savannas and prairies,
  • managing rare wildlife species (including Karner blue butterfly, eastern massasauga rattlesnake, and bats)
  • managing invasive species, and
  • complexities of incorporating new science into fire management.

Speakers and other contributors included:


Noel Pavlovic, Ecologist - plant communities, fire effects

Ralph Grundel, Ecologist - wildlife, endangered species 


Mel Whitenack, Fire Management Officer - prescribed fire operations

Neal Mulconrey, Biological Fire Tech, Prescribed Fire Tech – prescribed fire operations

Brandon Ramirez, Fire Station Captain – prescribed fire operations

John Kwilosz, Restoration Specialist – invasive species management 

Randy Knutson, Wildlife Biologist - resource management

Mary Fisher-Dunham, Fire Effects Program - fuels and fire effects monitoring (vegetation response data collection)  

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: 

Elizabeth McCloskey, US Fish and Wildlife Service, biologist – endangered species


Sand to Smoke: Fire in Ohio’s Oak Openings, Toledo Metro Area, Ohio

(August 18, 2016)

Local land managers and researchers guided us on an exploration of four different sites connected by the Green Ribbon Initiative. Presenters included researchers from the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University and land managers from Toledo Metroparks, The Olander Park District, and The Nature Conservancy.

Topics included:
  • connecting fire ecology to site- and watershed-level impacts - fire reduces leaf litter and nitrogen accumulation in uplands to restore niches for native plants and wildlife, and also reduces eutrophication of nearby Lake Erie
  • ecosystem restoration in fragemented habitats - effects of fire on vegetation and a rare wildlife species, Eastern Box Turtle
  • a management agreement with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority that maintains FAA-regulated open space through prescribed fire
  • burning in the Wildland-Urban Interface: smoke management and public engagement as keys to success
  • burning across savanna-prairie-wetland boundaries to restore historic vegetation mosaics
  • using prescribed fire to manage reconstructed prairies

Multiple Perspectives on Fire Sensitive Species in Fire Dependent Habitats

(October 2014) 

A four page PDF includes more images from the field day in southwest Michigan and a brief summary of the topics we covered. The sites were the Fort Custer Training Center, a military training site with extensive natural areas managed by the Michigan National Guard, and the adjacent Fort Custer State Recreation Area, managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.


Butterflies and Fire Prairie Tour, Grand River Grasslands, Missouri and Iowa

(July 2014)

We partnered with the Great Plains Fire Science Exchange to offer a butterflies and prairie tour in northern Missouri and southern Iowa.  Led by Dr. Ray Moranz, we visited sites managed by The Nature Conservancy, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources.



July 2013

Fire, Goats, and Butterflies at Hogback Prairie State Natural Area, Wisconsin

View photos from the trip

April 2013

Prescribed Fire Field Day -Goose Pond Natural Area, Linn County, Iowa

September 2012

Prescribed Fire and Wildfire at Quincy Bluffs State Natural Area, Wisconsin