The Enclosure

Fenced in creek in prairie valley
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NPS Photo/Adam Gericke

Area Description: National Parks are place for people to study nature. Rangers put up an enclosure to learn about the effects on the stream when it is used heavily by animals in an area where water is scarce.

Visible Vegetation: Prairie Rose, Woolly Verbena, Wild Bergamot, Big Bluestem

Possible Animal Habitat:

Mammals: Bison, Elk, Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, Coyote, Mountain Lion, Hayden’s Shrew, Porcupine

Birds: Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, Common Nighthawk, Mountain Bluebird, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Spotted Towhee, Chipping Sparrow

Geology: The rocks scattered on the hillside across the way are Paha Sapa Limestone. In other parts of the country this layer of rock is often called the Madison Formation. This limestone formed in the Mississippian age over 330 million years ago. Laid down in a shallow sea, limestone is mostly composed of calcium carbonate. Its coloration ranges from gray to light tan. This is the same limestone layer that Wind Cave is found in.

For Educators:

Thematic Information: To the west is the enclosure, and to the east is the exposed creek. Elk like tree sprouts especially aspen so there is decidedly less trees outside of the enclosure. Also there is a lot of mud churned up as bison come to drink. This leads to more sediment in the water and less vegetation to hold the soil down.

Recommended Student Activity:

Compare and contrast the two sides.

Inside the enclosure: More trees, denser vegetation, intact stream banks and more defined channel, wider variety of plants species,

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Last updated: September 22, 2016

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Hot Springs, SD 57747


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