Welcome to the web site of the Larry R. Yoder Prairie Learning Laboratory

The Larry R. Yoder Prairie Learning Laboratory is situated at The Ohio State University at Marion, in the north-central portion of the state. This is within a region that once included substantial areas of natural grasslands with scattered trees,¬† a region called the “Sandusky Plains.” In 1976, recognizing that only a few remnants of this ecosystem type were remaining in the area, and that the OSU students and community members would benefit from there being a living laboratory for study and relaxation, an Ohio State Marion¬† faculty member in the Department of Botany, Dr. Larry R. Yoder, together with his students, established a prairie on campus using locally collected seeds and plants.

Yoder and student establishing prairie in 1975.

Fast forward nearly a half-century and we have a beautiful 12-acre prairie enhanced by a small (approx 0.1 acre) pond and an open-air shelter house used for OSU classes and as a relaxing spot for students and community members to meet and socialize. The grounds is maintained by the science laboratory support staff operating out of the Science and Engineering Building.

Ohio State Marion Prairie in August 2020.

Please use this web site to learn more about the natural and human history of central Ohio prairies, the decades-long development of the Larry R. Yoder Prairie Learning Laboratory, and prairie plants and animals.