Watch bison thunder across the prairie at Belwin’s expanded annual event

A 5-kilometer run/walk on the bison prairie and an environmental art festival have been added to the awe-inspiring release of bison onto their summer home.




2 minute read

Via Belwin Conservancy:

Bison exit the trailer and run across the Belwin Bison Prairie in 2017.

Saturday, May 19 – Afton, Minnesota
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. EcoArt Fest
10 a.m. – 5K “Run with the Bison” Fun Trail Run
Noon – Bison Release

Belwin Conservancy is excited to announce a host of new activities as part of its annual Bison Release, this year being held on Saturday, May 19, 2018. Everyone is invited to attend this free community festival, taking place at Belwin’s Lucy Winton Bell Athletic Fields (15601 Hudson Road, West Lakeland, Minnesota).

In celebration of bison’s critical role in helping Belwin maintain and improve our restored prairie, ​NorthStar Bison​ will release a herd of juvenile male bison to their summer home
at 12:00 p.m.

“The sight and sound of the animals thundering out of their trailers and across the prairie is an amazing experience,” says Lynette Anderson, Belwin’s interpretive naturalist. “They also have a complex and profound relationship with the prairie ecosystem that once covered much of Minnesota.”

(Editor’s note: Check out this fascinating  article about the ways prairie and bison need each other.)

Schedule of Events

10:00 a.m. ​5K “Run with the Bison” Fun Trail Run
Family-friendly, untimed run or walk open to all skill levels. A small registration fee supports
Belwin’s work maintaining the prairies. Run will be held prior to the bison release. Information and registration »

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. EcoArt Fest
Artist-led, interactive arts activities for all ages. Performances by Crow Bellecourt and
Impossible Salt. Also at the festival will be the following arts organizations and individuals: Afton Historical Museum, Afton Old School Art Studio, ArtReach St. Croix, What We Need Is Here’s Jill Waterhouse, ephemeral artists Tanvi Kulkarni and Tom Bierlein, Western Wisconsin Photo Club, Wild Ones, and Witt Siasoco.

12:00 p.m. Bison Release
Food trucks will be on site offering food and drink for sale. Bison Release festivities will be held rain (or snow!) or shine. Attendees are encouraged to bring a chair or picnic blanket, and to consider carpooling.

Belwin Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration and appreciation of our natural world. The Belwin Conservancy owns nearly 1,400 acres of permanently protected land in Afton and West Lakeland Township, Minnesota. The property comprises one of the largest nature preserves in the region. Its focus is connecting people and the land through a variety of innovative experiential programs that include the arts, astronomy, athletic fields, bison, education, land protection, research and restoration.

Watch video of last year’s release:

Produced by Greg Seitz, St. Croix 360


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Watch bison thunder across the prairie at Belwin’s expanded annual event