Forty people and 45 pets – including 44 dogs and one feline – enjoyed a rare walk on the Spring Creek Prairie near Denton during the second annual Paws on the Prairie event Aug. 10.
The SCP Audubon Center partnered at the event with the Capital Humane Society of Lincoln, which brought dogs available for adoption. Dogs on leashes (and one cat in a protective backpack) and their people enjoyed the prairie walk on a trail specially marked for the safety of pets and wildlife. Some pets donned nature-themed costumes for a pet parade, and prizes were awarded.
Jason St. Sauver, director of education and outreach at the SCP Audubon Center, stood on a picnic table and gave a presentation that included wildlife trivia, pet and wildlife safety, prairie conservation and new prairie projects.
“Paws on the Prairie offers a way to let our friends, members and other nature lovers enjoy the prairie at least once a year with their pet – and let them know why we usually do not allow pets, which is for both pets’ and our wildlife’s safety,” St. Sauver said. “Our birds and other wildlife see dogs and cats as other predators, and territory marking can make for dangerous encounters with pets and people.”
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St. Sauver noted that the Prairie Corridor on Haines Branch project, when completed, will allow pets on a trail that will extend 10 miles through a tallgrass prairie connecting Lincoln’s Pioneers Park Nature Center to the Spring Creek Prairie.
“Overall, the Paws on the Prairie event was a fun way for us to reach a new audience that may not have visited Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center before,” St. Sauver said. “This year’s event was the first visit for easily half of those who attended. A big part of our mission right now is being inclusive and reaching out to non-traditional partners of all kinds.”