Fair Meadows encompasses a variety of habitats including oak woodland and savanna, wet prairie, and sedge meadow. It is home to the federally threatened and Wisconsin endangered eastern prairie white-fringed orchid. A privately owned natural area, Fair Meadows is generally only open to the public on field trips through conservation organizations and that is how I was fortunate enough to be able to visit this wonderful site.
I will never get tired of finding an orchid, from the not-very-showy Apletctrum hyemale to the fancier flowers such as lady-slippers or in this case, the eastern prairie white-fringed orchid. What a beautiful (and imperiled) flower! We were on this field trip, perhaps a week past peak bloom for this wonderful plants, but it was still a great joy to see my first one. Since that time, I have been fortunate to see them in several locations. Orchids are often the subject of poaching despite the fact that they don’t transplant very well. Generally, I am wary of giving out specific location information on many of these species and this site is literally in someone’s backyard. I would like to visit this site again to see more of the natural communities, but have yet to see this field trip offered again. Perhaps someday soon.
More of my photos (and full-res) from Fair Meadows can be viewed here.
|Natural Communities / Geology||Oak Woodland, Oak Savanna, Wet Prairie, Sedge Meadow, Shrub-Carr, Marsh, Spring|
|Easy to Find||Yes|
|Best Seen By||Foot|
|Ownership||Private; More info: Wisconsin DNR|
|Location not disclosed|