by Mari Radtke
The Prairie Heritage Center stands at the four county corners of O’Brien, Clay, Buena Vista and Cherokee. The surrounding area was formed from the retreating Wisconsonian Glacier estimated 12,000-14,000 years ago. Other glacial deposits in northwest Iowa put the Pre-Illinoian glacier here some 20,000-30,000 years ago. The area is rich with hints about the lives lived and the mechanisms that created the geography of the hills, the plains, and the valleys.
Years of planning paid off on November 28, 2006 when the Prairie Heritage Center opened its doors. Since that time over 100,000 people from all 50 states and 26 countries have visited the center.
The center is filled with educational and interactive displays. The site has trails to wander along the native prairie edge filled with wildflowers and prairie grass varieties. Birds, including a healthy bald eagle population can enthrall visitors for hours. All kinds of wildlife make themselves at home in the prairie. Part of the center is home to a herd of bison, which just greeted its third infant this year. .
The displays in the center have increased over the years. While increasing they haven’t changed. The original displays remain on display now. One loving child has announced putting into place a gift that will change that.
The O’Brien County Board of Supervisors is the governing board that facilitated the development of the Prairie Heritage Center. One supervisor served for 8 or 9 terms and saw the Center become a reality. “That place was really special to him. That’s what motivated me to do this,” said the donor whose identity will not be made public at this time. The donor went on to describe how special Prairie Heritage Center was to his/her parents.
On June 17, O’Brien County Community Foundation is holding a ceremony to give its annual grants. The ceremony will be held at the Primghar Community Building beginning at 12 noon. More information about the gift to Prairie Heritage Center will be announced at that time. O’Brien County Community Foundation and its parent, Siouxland Community Foundation, are instrumental in the future handling of the gift that will be fully announced later in June and to help it grow.
The donor said, “I am honoring my parents through this gift. It means capital improvements from capital investment.” It means the Prairie Heritage Center has the opportunity to always offer something really new and really exciting while staying in keeping with its purpose to provide environmental education as it relates to the prairie and the county, to preserve and protect our prairie heritage and to encourage economic development with regards to recreation and historic exploration.
by Mari Radtke