‘Learn-N-Burn’ workshop improves attendees’ knowledge of prescribed fire

‘Learn-N-Burn’ workshop improves attendees’ knowledge of prescribed fire

With more than 97% of Indiana’s land in private ownership, private landowners are the stewards of a majority of the landscape. More than 200,000 acres of Indiana cropland are enrolled in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program. These acres require management — including prescribed fire — to fulfill contractual obligations and enhance plantings for wildlife. Many of Indiana’s natural areas, prairies, savannas and oak-hickory forests are dependent on natural disturbances like fire to flourish. However, most landowners lack awareness of prescribed fire benefits to wildlife and natural areas and may have preconceived notions about risks. Providing landowners with information about prescribed fire benefits and safety, and demonstrating safe application, can help them make informed decisions for their property.

Purdue University Extension leads annual “Learn-N-Burn Prescribed Fire” workshops. The most recent workshop, which focused on prescribed fire in grassland ecosystems, had 22 participants, including landowners, college biology students and public natural area managers. Eleven completed the program evaluation. Participants reported they owned or managed a total of 12,750 acres.

Participant knowledge ratings improved as a result of this workshop. Average knowledge scores increased for: how seasons of fire (fall vs. spring) impact vegetation (96.6%), benefits of conducting a prescribed fire for wildlife (80%), how to improve grasslands for wildlife (59.7%), equipment used in conducting prescribed fire (47.2%) and safety considerations when conducting fire (43.1%).

Participants indicated the workshop was useful in providing new knowledge to help them take action (100%) or make future decisions (91%) on their property. Based on the information presented, participants plan to take the following actions in the next 12 months: Conduct a prescribed fire (64%), seek more information about managing grasslands for wildlife (45%), and seek assistance in conducting a prescribed fire (45%).

Link to full statement on website: http://landgrantimpacts.tamu.edu/impacts/show/5750