|Linda Ellis- News-Leader|
|Rattlesnake Master - Wikimedia|
Prairies dominated much of the Southwestern Missouri landscape prior to the arrival of European settlers. Native Americans set fire to the prairies to stimulate new grass growth and suppress the growth of shrubs and trees which complicated hunting. Now we use prescribed fire to maintain those precious patches of prairie that remain. Francis Skalicky describes the use of prescribed fire at greater lengths in an accompanying News-Leader article.
The arrival of the plow, followed by cattle raising and the monoculture of fescue replaced most of these native prairies and their unique species. A few unplowed remnants of prairies remain and organizations such as the Missouri Prairie Foundation and the Ozark Regional Land Trust are dedicated to preserving them. Both sites have information on how you can help.
|Pink round headed katydid|
More on rattlesnake master at Wikipedia.
* Picture and story by Mike Penprase, Springfield News-Leader.
** Tours of Woods Prairie are available- contact ORLT at 314-401-6218.