Olson Nature Preserve
(dedicated on June 17, 2000)
The Olson Nature Preserve is truly a unique little
corner of the world! Tucked into an area of approximately 140 acres, several
interesting ecosystems invite further exploration. The eastern edge of the
Nebraska sand hills, complete with characteristic blowouts and gullies, comprise
the western edge of the Preserve. A bur oak grove, clinging to the steep slope,
borders the eastern edge of the sand hills. A person may observe typical prairie
plants on the hot, dry sand hills and walk just 100 meters or so and be viewing
ferns growing in the moist, cool forest. Wetlands, which fill the area at the
base of the oak grove, abound with typical wetland plants and animals.
Because of present management practice, the meadow along the Beaver river is quickly reverting into a beautiful, tall grass prairie. An open cottonwood grove also lies next to the river and provides roosting sites for bald eagles during the winter. The river itself is a typical meandering river that winds its way through the Preserve.
The Preserve is owned and managed by the Prairie Plains Resource Institute (PPRI) of Aurora. PPRI is an educational land trust that is involved with acquitting and managing land containing significant natural features of the tall grass prairie and Great Plains region, and with ecological restoration of grasslands and wetlands. The lands are used for education, wildlife habitat, recreation, and scientific research.
A group of "land stewards" assist PPRI in the management of the Preserve. Current members of the local land stewards include: Ted Theiman, Petersburg; Mitch Osborn, Albion; Carol Eischeid, Petersburg; Mark Seier, Newman Grove; Dick Ronnenkamp, Albion; Brenda Seims, Elgin; Norm Smith, Albion; and Mitzi Fox, Albion. Mitzi is also a board member of PPRI.
The Olson Nature Preserve is located one mile north of Loretto on Highway 14 and then one mile further north on the gravel road. The gates to the Preserve are large rustic gates marked with the "ONP" initials. The road leading to the Preserve form the gates in the not graveled and becomes muddy during rains and melting snow.
Information courtesy of the PPRI and Albion
Chamber of Commerce