Celebrate National Bison Day Nov. 5 with a look at Fermilab herd over the years

  • Early this spring, Fermilab in Batavia saw its first red-haired baby bison, seen here with its mother.

    Early this spring, Fermilab in Batavia saw its first red-haired baby bison, seen here with its mother. Courtesy of Ryan Postel, Fermilab

 
 
Posted11/4/2022 5:06 PM

In honor of National Bison Day, the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois has published a series of photos honoring the national mammal of the United States.

Observed on the first Saturday in November, National Bison Day falls on Saturday, Nov. 5, this year.

 

Robert Wilson, Fermilab's first director, established the bison herd at the lab in 1969 and these large mammals have become a cornerstone of the lab's culture.

On April 28, 2016, Congress passed the National Bison Legacy Act, recognizing this iconic animal as a symbol of historical significance. President Obama signed it into law on May 9, 2016, and the bison officially became the national mammal of the United States.
On April 28, 2016, Congress passed the National Bison Legacy Act, recognizing this iconic animal as a symbol of historical significance. President Obama signed it into law on May 9, 2016, and the bison officially became the national mammal of the United States. - Courtesy of Reidar Hahn, Fermilab

A living homage, the bison represent the former frontier of the Midwestern prairie and symbolize the scientific frontier Fermilab researchers explore in the field of high-energy physics.

Since it first established the bison herd on the 80-acre pasture, locals and visitors alike have enjoyed seeing these magnificent animals. Often captured in photos or now seen through the virtual bison cam, the iconic bison is the lab's unofficial mascot.

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During the spring, you might lay eyes on an adult female caring for her calf, otherwise known as a "red dog," or in early winter catch a glimpse of light snowfall collecting atop the mammal's brown fur.

It's especially exciting any time of year when the herd grazes near the fence line along Pine Street, affording closer viewing and better photo opportunities.

Fermilab's bison herd continues to attract visitors young and old. A children's tour takes place at the Buffalo Barn in 1983.
Fermilab's bison herd continues to attract visitors young and old. A children's tour takes place at the Buffalo Barn in 1983. - Courtesy of Fermilab

Fermilab is honoring and celebrating our national mammal with a pictorial of the lab's bison herd over the years.

The public can watch the bison herd anytime through Fermilab's virtual bison cam at www.fnal.gov/pub/about/bisoncam/. It includes time-lapse footage and a photo album.

Celebrate our national mammal and take a look at Fermilab's bison herd over the years in the photo essay at news.fnal.gov.

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