The Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve at 39,650 acres is the largest protected piece of tallgrass prairie left on earth. Urban sprawl and conversion to cropland have left this once expansive landscape, originally spanning across 14 states from Texas to Minnesota, at less than 4% of its original size.
Since 1989, The Nature Conservancy in Oklahoma has proven successful at restoring this fully functioning portion of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem with the use of 2,500 free-ranging bison and a "patch-burn" model approach to prescribed burning.
The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve offers excellent wildlife watching opportunities and exceptional views of a variety of natural habitats. Over 700 plants, 300 birds and 80 mammals make this prairie home. Visitors can experience the wide-open prairie and the patches of crosstimbers forest by circling the 15-mile bison driving loop and hiking along designated trails. Remember to stop in the Visitor Center and Gift Shop to meet our volunteer Docents to learn an in-depth history of the preserve and of course, get that special souvenir.
Conservation In Action
With over 180 publications in scientific journals and dozens of active research initiatives, The Nature Conservancy and its partners are learning more than ever about the unique qualities of the tallgrass prairie as well as, the threats and solutions to ensure its protection for future generations.
The Nature Connects Us webinar series explores the annual bison roundup and the milestone achieved of 1 million acres of good fire in Osage County. Great for classrooms and watch-parties with families and friends, see the recordings of these in-depth webinars straight from the tallgrass prairie.
See below to discover the science behind the tallgrass prairie and climate change, how prairie mole crickets are influencing hearing-aid technology, and the importance of prescribed fire on the landscape.