Aldo Leopold Legacy Center

16. ALF prairie restoration
17. ALF Reserve burn

The Seasons of Grass

Tall grasses are essential to the prairie—fuel for wildfire, home to wildlife, builders of soil. The tall grasses were perhaps the downfall of the prairie here, too. The towering greenery and stunning displays of wildflowers no doubt signaled fertility and prosperity to the homesteaders. But a sand prairie is deceiving.

The myriad grasses and flowers thrive because of deep roots and mutual benefits to one another, casting shade and holding moisture. Plowing under the ecosystem, planting crops, and soon losing crops to drought, settlers learned this ecological lesson through a devastating experience. Today, land stewards reintroduce fire and native seeds to the prairie in an ongoing effort to retain this piece of our collective history.

“The old prairie lived by the diversity of its plants and animals, all of which were useful because the sum total of their co-operations and competitions achieved continuity.”
– Odyssey