Marcie O’Connor

(Insects found in my planted prairies.)

Buffalo County, Wisconsin;  about half way between LaCrosse and Eau Claire.

My husband, Mike, and I live on 500 acres of an old Wisconsin dairy farm.  We bought the land in 2000, and immediately began ‘unfarming’ it – working to restore the land to the way it was before it was farmed.  We planted all 150 acres of crop fields into prairie between 2000 and 2008.

Our largest planted prairie


More planted prairie

We’ve also planted prairie in some small fields that had been abandoned hay fields for many years.  And we planted wet prairie seeds into about 5 acres of wet old field.  Altogether we have about 165 acres of planted prairie.  The largest contiguous area is about 80 acres.

I planted 90-100 species of forbs and 10-12 grasses.   To see more about the planted prairies, and a seed list for each one click HERE.

We’ve also been cutting and removing brush and trees from the numerous remnants of prairie and savanna that are scattered around the property.  The planted prairies are mostly bordered by these remnants, or by oak woodland.  One neighbor has a small corn/soybean field that borders two of our prairie areas, but otherwise all our neighbors’ land is wooded.

Bluff prairie remnant


Savanna remnant


We did a little burning in the beginning, but now we don’t burn unless it’s absolutely necessary.  We mow many of the restored areas once a year to keep down invading brush, and mow the planted prairies as necessary to keep out trees and brush, or to control weeds.  I also cut and treat brush, trees and weeds by hand.

I’m also trying to learn about all the creatures that share the land with us.  I’ve gotten especially interested in moths, and so far I’ve documented more than 830 moth species.

To see more of what we do, visit