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Minnesota couple works to restore native plants on 100 acres

September 19, 2018

Ken and Gloria Trom have planted native prairie grasses on 100 acres they own near Austin, Minn.The plants included butterfly milkweed, prairie blazingstar, stiff goldenrod, sneezeweed, black-eyed Susan and partridge pea. "You don't get this mix of stuff and wildlife anymore," Ken said. "But it's part of the natural order." (Katie Lauer/The Rochester Post-Bulletin via AP)

AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) — A couple is bringing back native prairie grasses, plants and flowers on nearly 100 acres (40 hectares) of land in southern Minnesota.

Ken Trom, 83, and Gloria Trom, 78, planted a mix of more than two dozen species around their land near the Cedar River in June, The Post Bulletin reported . The plants included butterfly milkweed, prairie blazingstar, stiff goldenrod, sneezeweed, black-eyed Susan and partridge pea.

“You don’t get this mix of stuff and wildlife anymore,” Ken Trom said. “But it’s part of the natural order.”

The couple has lived in their country home for nearly 60 years. During that time they’ve done a variety of conservationist work, including adding in hillsides, tree windbreaks, a fish pond and gardens.

“We already have the woods, the river and everything to support wildlife,” Trom said. “Now we just put this in, (the wildlife) will like that, and it will tie right in.”

Trom said he’s excited to see what animals the new plants attract. He said the couple already sees deer, monarch butterflies and bluebirds on their land.

Trom was recently named the 2018 Outstanding Wildlife Conservationist for Mower County to honor his decades of conservation work.

“I used to be on the board, and I wanted to start up this awards program,” he said. “I used to help give out awards, and this time I get one.”

Trom, a former banker, said he enjoys working on improvements for his land.

“In the banking business, you just think of the money, you know,” he said. “This is something you can really get your hooks into, and I always had a hankering for it.”

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Information from: Post-Bulletin, http://www.postbulletin.com

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