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Prairie Oaks

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On February 17, 2024, the Prairie Oaks Institute board decided to dissolve the institute, gifting its campus to the Monarch Joint Venture. 

Read the Prairie Oaks Institute announcement here

Read the MJV’s blog post here.

Save the Date: Prairie Oaks Butterfly Days

To mark this momentous transition, you are warmly invited to a public open house celebration at the Monarch Joint Venture Prairie Oaks campus on Saturday, June 22, from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM.

Our event will feature pollinator and native habitat activities for all ages, native plants for sale from Minnesota Native Landscapes, the Chimborazo food truck, cold treats, and more.

Program:

Prairie Oaks Butterfly Days Program
Prairie Oaks Butterfly Days Program


About Prairie Oaks

Nestled on 20 scenic acres on the west side of Belle Plaine, MN, this property will serve as a hub for conservation, education, and research. With two houses, agricultural structures, and a restored prairie, it will provide a serene setting for hosting educational events, workshops, and MJV offices. Nature trails through wooded acres will offer opportunities for research and exploration. In February 2024, the Prairie Oaks Institute generously donated the property to the Monarch Joint Venture. The Monarch Joint Venture envisions this space as an embodiment of its mission to conserve monarchs and other pollinators. While honoring the legacy of former stewards of the land at the Prairie Oaks campus, the MJV will transform and utilize the campus for conservation, education, science, collaboration, and community engagement.

History

The Prairie Oaks property, situated in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, holds a rich tapestry of history dating back to 1905 when Herman and Christina Schmidt acquired a 240-acre farm. Their legacy was continued by their youngest son, Edward, known for his remarkable water and soil conservation efforts, which earned recognition in 1948. He and his wife Alvina (Nagel) farmed the land, which was then transitioned to Marilyn (Schmidt) and Roger Devine, who preserved its ecological integrity. In 1999, facing encroaching development, the Devine family envisioned transforming the land into a retreat center, leading to the establishment of what was first named Devine Valley Renewal Ministries in 2002. Renamed Prairie Oaks Institute at Robert Creek in 2008, it blossomed into a hub for ecological sustainability, education, and retreats. Programs flourished, including organic farming initiatives, community gatherings, and Courage and RenewalⓇ retreats. On February 17, 2024, the Prairie Oaks Institute board decided to dissolve the institute, gifting its campus to the Monarch Joint Venture. The Monarch Joint Venture is honored to continue the legacy of the previous land stewards.

We welcome and appreciate all of the generous donations that come our way. Donations help us to fund programs, events, and property management at Prairie Oaks.

Contact Information

For questions regarding Prairie Oaks, please email prairieoaks@monarchjointventure.org 

Farm House: 1100 W. South Street, Belle Plaine, MN 56011

Harvest House: 1200 W. South Street, Belle Plaine, MN 56011