Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie State Natural Area


Situated on a low Driftless Area ridge, Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie features a small, but intact dry-mesic prairie and harbors a rich flora of more than 80 native prairie species. Grasses include big and little blue-stem, Indian grass, northern drop-seed, purple love grass, June grass, and numerous Panicum species. Forbs include such showy species as pasque flower, lead-plant, shooting-star, fringed puccoon, compass-plant, blazing-stars, purple prairie-clover, yellow coneflower, black-eyed susan, sunflowers, goldenrods, and asters. Of significance are the uncommon species white camas and pomme-de-prairie. Many birds use the prairie and surrounding area for nesting including eastern kingbird, indigo bunting, and eastern bluebird. The site also provides habitat for a variety of insects and butterflies. The area has a history of light grazing and although it was never plowed, old furrow marks on the crest are indicative of an old tractor pathway. Today, management activities such as brushing, burning, and mowing help maintain the prairie landscape. Black Earth Prairie is owned by The Prairie Enthusiasts and was designated a State Natural Area in 1986. (Wisconson Department of Natural Resources)

10241 Fesenfeld Road, Black Earth, Wisconsin 53515
Open daily, year-round
43.139418 -89.774171
  • Parking
No hunting permitted by landowner.

Contact the The Prairie Enthusiasts (Empire-Sauk Chapter) at

Local Knowledge:
The University of Wisconsin-Madison herbarium has numerous entries of plants collected at this site, some dating back many years.


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