Recently I had the opportunity to attend a bio blitz on Linden Prairie in Missouri. A prairie bio blitz is a coming together of like-minded people with the intent to learn more about a natural area. Learning more about prairies gives us reasons to help conserve and preserve them.
Linden Prairie is owned by Missouri Prairie Foundation and this year is the 50th anniversary of MPF’s presence in Missouri. This prairie and others in Missouri are the last of their kind. Prairies once covered 15 million acres in Missouri. Today, there are less than 90 thousand acres of prairie left, most of it in small parcels.
So what happens when native prairies disappear? One very important issue is that pollinators also disappear. For us, that means crops may not be pollinated, and that means less food. For this reason alone, we need to protect lands like this.
But to me it is so much more. Walking the prairie at day is like nothing else you can do. The grasses, wildflowers, and wildlife seem to crowd around you. Walking the prairie at night you have opportunities to see and hear wildlife that only can be found at night. These experiences speak of times long ago when bison roamed without fences, and they remind us of our country’s first people who walked on this same land.
There is a heartiness on the prairie. Maybe it is because we can imagine how difficult life must have been back then, for native species and for mankind who dared to attempt to live there.