15 July 2007

Our Tallgrass Prairie in Mid-July

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Last week, I took another camera walk through the prairie in my ongoing quest to document the summer's changing color palette. It was early evening, and the sun was just starting to set. It was quiet and as I walked, I could hear birds fluttering and bunnies scurrying to hide in the tall grasses. The prairie was golden, dotted with purple and white. Black-eyed Susan, bee balm, purple coneflower, and Queen Anne's lace are just a few of the native plants blooming in mid-July.

As I walked the winding paths, I was saddened to think about the extent to which the landscape of our state has changed. One hundred fifty years ago, 85% of our state was tall-grass prairie just like this. Today, less than 0.1% of the prairie remains.

Many groups are working within our state to restore native prairie areas such as this one. Yet sadly, many of our citizens do not understand or appreciate the wild beauty of this type of landscape. Some look at native plants and consider them weeds. They dislike the untamed, natural look of the prairie and would prefer it to be replaced with manicured grass.

Thanks to a thoughtfully constructed land development plan, the prairie in our neighborhood is not at risk. In my opinion, it's the best part of living in this community. I hope that over time, more citizens will come to appreciate and work to restore areas like this.

6 comments:

jillconyers said...

Beautiful photos! Glad to hear your prairie is not at risk. At one time in my life I would not have appreciated the beauty you have captured in your photos and so eloquently described. Sad to think it took me until my early 30s to appreciate and not take for granted things like this.

Wow, this post has me thinking!

Lynn said...

Wonderful post. I just love all the beautiful photos. They are really breathtaking. It is really sad when developers start taking over. We have the same problem here on Long Island.

jp said...

Thank you, Jill and Lynn! I know I've been posting a lot about the prairie, but it is so beautiful that I can't begin to do it justice. I keep thinking that one day, I'll get that perfect photo. :-) I just wish you could all walk through it and experience it. Janet

The Smart One said...

You wrote:
"As I walked the winding paths, I was saddened to think about the extent to which the landscape of our state has changed. One hundred fifty years ago, 85% of our state was tall-grass prairie just like this. Today, less than 0.1% of the prairie remains."

Yes, it's unfortunate that so much of our prairie land was totally plowed under over a century ago...merely to farm it. Fortunately, some nice housing developments have taken over this farm ground and returned a portion of the land to it's rightful state!

jp said...

FYI..."The Smart One" is DH. He's quite pro-development, as you can tell. Makes for some interesting discussions around our house. :-)

The Smart One said...

Development done RIGHT is what produced those beautiful photos!