Posted by John H. Frischie on Aug 29, 2017
What do you do on the 5th Tuesday of the month?  The Kentland Club decided to check out the bison at Kankakee Sands and learn from THC docent John Hardwick of Valparaiso, Indiana.  Rotary members and their spouses joined John for an evening of learning about the Bison Project at Kankakee Sands.   Bison roamed the area hundreds of years ago became non-existent as humans eliminated their prairie habitat.  Twenty-three bison arrived from South Dakota last fall.  The herd has increased with the birth of 11 calves this spring.   They are free to roam the 1000-acre prairie restoration area and forage on the grasses abundant there. Their diet is supplemented only with salt and mineral blocks and they are examined on a regular basis by a crew of trained Veterinarians. 
Fortunately, many of the bison were visible in north prairie area of the preserve as Rotarians arrived for the evening.  There is an “observation” area created on the area that is affectionately known as “Bogus Island” directly west of the Kankakee Sands office. However, bison are in their habitat and cannot read the signs marking the location of the viewing area.  The Nature Conservancy is research how the bison improve the prairie habitat.  It is believed that their hooves mix the soil and vegetation for improved habitat for the prairie plants.  They also create open areas where they sleep and rest.  These areas are then inhabited by other native species of insects, plants, and animals.
Thanks to John Hardwick for traveling from Valparaiso to share his knowledge of the bison restoration and John Frischie for arranging the program. 
Kentland Rotary members concluded their evening of fun with hamburgers and brats at Trinity United Methodist Church in Kentland.  Members and guests enjoyed fresh treats from members gardens and kitchens along with the  talent of the dessert creators in the Kentland Rotary Family.