Fundraising started for bison exhibit improvements

FERGUSON – One of the more popular areas of Green Castle Recreation Area is due for an upgrade, and fundraising is on track to push the project forward.

Fundraising is going on for the bison exhibit at the park south of Ferguson to be upgraded with new fencing and a new hay storage facility.

The park is operated by the Marshall County Conservation Board, and Director Mike Stegmann said the bison exhibit has been popular since it started in 1989.

“It really has been a cornerstone for the park,” Stegmann said. “People make special trips just to see the bison.”

The habitat currently includes four bison including two cows, one young bull and one calf.

Not only are the bison a rare sight, but they also serve as an educational tool.

“The target for the exhibit was environmental education,” Stegmann said.

Some exciting news for the project has been a $15,000 Martha Ellen Tye Foundation challenge grant. So far, an additional $10,000 has been raised in the goal to raise a total of $35,000 for the project.

Stegmann said he hopes for extra funding help from the public and to start the project as early as this summer.

“We’d like to have the money raised and the construction to start by the end of July or the first part of August,” Stegmann said.

The new fencing would provide for more security for both visitors and the bison, and it would be more aesthetically pleasing, Stegmann said. The hay storage facility is needed to help feed the bison during the winter months.

The bison habitat is one of the many amenities at Green Castle that has led the MCCB to look into adding a campground at the park. The board is currently in the design phase of that project.

To learn how to donate to the bison habitat project call the MCCB office at 641-752-5490.