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Who are The Prairie Enthusiasts?

The Prairie Enthusiasts (TPE) is a private organization committed to the protection and management of native prairie and savanna of the Upper Midwest. We have an incorporated, nonprofit status and are a grass roots organization run mainly by volunteers.

The Prairie Enthusiasts differ from other conservation groups in its sole dedication to the preservation of the last remaining pieces of the once vast, now endangered, prairies and savannas of the Upper Midwest through land protection and management.

The Prairie Enthusiasts evolved from small prairie preservation organizations that began in the mid-1970's. We now have 11 chapters in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. More information can be found in our brochure.

TPE Mission Statement

We seek to ensure the perpetuation and recovery of prairie, oak savanna, and other associated ecosystems of the Upper Midwest through protection, management, restoration, and education. In doing so, we strive to work openly and cooperatively with private landowners and other private and public conservation groups.

A Sense of Urgency....

During the 5,000 years preceding European settlement, much of the Upper Midwest's landscape was dominated by prairies and oak savannas. The 150 years following settlement have witnessed the destruction of all but 0.15% of these communities, and many of their associated plants and animals have become rare. In other words, less than 15 acres remain for each 10,000 acres of pre-settlement prairies and savannas.

Today, of the little that remains, only about 20% is actively protected and managed. The rest is still un-recognized and is steadily succumbing to development, tree planting and natural invasion by trees and shrubs.

The annual losses of prairie and savanna remnants are small as measured in acres and often go unnoticed. A few more decades of such losses will leave little to preserve outside of the precious few public and private preserves that exist today. The Prairie Enthusiasts, in cooperation with other conservation groups, is working to reverse this trend.

Restored prairies are very good for many reasons, but they are never as biologically diverse or physically complete as original prairie sod - no matter how small an area. Whenever possible, we encourage people to first conduct plant surveys on their land, identify the prairie remnant, then add buffer zones using locally collected seed or a reputable seed source.

What can you do? Join TPE!

Your interest and enthusiasm will keep us moving. Become a member or consider a donation! Both membership dues and donations are tax deductible.

Members receive our quarterly newsletter, The Prairie Promoter. It focuses on prairie and savanna conservation and on opportunities to actively participate in saving vital pieces of a severely endangered ecosystem.

You are encouraged to participate in chapter meetings, workshops, field trips, picnics, and other activities.

Become involved in our projects and educational endeavors -- you will not only help save our precious prairies but also meet interesting people who share your commitment to conservation and preservation.