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Nine Mile Prairie is a 97-hectare contiguous segment of rare relict tallgrass prairie, and is one of the few natural, virgin prairies occuring in the United States. This nationally important outdoor laboratory for the study of biological processes in grasslands has been the subject of research efforts since the 1920s, and is the longest-studied natural area in Nebraska. This rich ecosystem is home for more than 390 vascular plant species, 80 bird species, and several rare species, including the federally-threatened prairie white fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara) and the rare regal fritillary butterfly (Speyeria idalia). The phenocam allows us to view phenology (vegetation seasonal changes such as bud break and senescence) in real time and track phenology trends over time.
Find out more about phenology and the phenocam on our Climate-land surface Interactions page.