June Prairie Reflections

Summer is here and the time it right for many species on the prairie. The Prairie Enthusiasts take pride in restoring biodiversity to our Midwestern prairie and oak savanna communities. Here are a few images that captured our attention this past month. Hope they remind you to get out on the prairie. There is so much to see and share.

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Field Trips - What's Next?

Our community of prairie enthusiasts is just as resilient as the prairies and savannas. However, there’s no doubt about it - as grassroots volunteers and leaders, we’re likely all asking ourselves “What’s next?” What's next for those of us who want to share these special places with others? How do we show-n-tell about the exciting work that we’re doing - the successes, trials, errors, and what we are learning along the way? How do we connect others to the places we love during these challenging times?

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TPE Executive Director Search Now Under Way!

The Prairie Enthusiasts have begun an active search for a new Executive Director to assume leadership of the staff and chapter support organization. A great deal has changed since our prior executive director, Chris Kirkpatrick, began work eight years ago, including major growth in our membership and the scope of our activities. That growth and expansion is certainly continuing and finding the right person to take the helm is more important than ever.

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Early Highlights from the Landowner Services Program

The new Landowner Services program is up and running, and though the program is in its early days, it’s already yielding some noteworthy botanical finds and conservation opportunities. Given the myriad threats that our natural communities face and the pervasive, visibly obvious distress of the landscape, I’m heartened to come across irreplaceable elements of biodiversity hanging on—sometimes even thriving.

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Authentic Responses to Black Lives Matter

Beginning in late May of this year, our collective attention has been forcibly drawn by the enormous and continuing demonstrations across the country protesting the long unsolved issues of racial injustice and police brutality. This challenge has been with us as a society for a very long time, but something seems quite different about it now. For most of us members of TPE, who are white and often live or own property in rural areas, this may seem like something remote and not particularly relevant to our conservation work. However, if we believe that connecting our human community to the natural communities we love is truly important, we cannot ignore this challenge, and need consider how to help address it in our own way.

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Springtime Photo Gallery, May 2020

Spring is quickly growing into summer. Here are a few photos that captured our attention this past month. So fun to see what is happening in and around the prairie. One way of looking at these images is called Phenology which is the study of reoccurring life cycles that are driven by the environment. The timing of these events are related to both short - and long-term variability in climate. Do these images look familiar, can you identify them? 

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This Week in the Driftless Area, June 4, 2020

This week the savanna’s purple lupines (Lupinus perennis) and pink wild geraniums (Geranium maculatum) are being replaced by spiderworts (Tradescantia ohiensis).  According to past years’ local records, spiderworts are blooming later than normal this year. The cool spring, together with the lack of burning, make this year’s blooming plants on the hillsides appear to be less striking than in past years. But up close they are still a beautiful and impressive plant.

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TPE Growing Stronger: Meet your Team!

Hello Prairie Enthusiasts! We are Dan, Diane, Jerry, and Joe, and we are the people working for you and TPE as the Chapter Support staff. As you may have heard, we are taking a big leap forward in 2020, adding significantly to our capacity to address the mission of educating, protecting, and restoring the native prairies, savannas, and associated natural communities of our region. The overall goal is to drive growth in membership, volunteer engagement and funding for our mission. We are enthusiastic about our new staff members (Dan and Diane) and hope you will be too! We also wanted to reintroduce you to Jerry and Joe, longtime TPE staff members who each now have slightly different roles.

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TPE Landowner Services: New staff and capacity for the organization

Are you, or do you know someone who is interested in restoring or managing native prairie and savanna communities on private land? Would you like to hear the bumblebees busily spreading pollen from flower to flower and see more butterflies dancing among the grasses?

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Field Trips Restart, June 2020

TPE has set in place new guidelines to enable us to begin holding our important field trips and work parties going forward while protecting our safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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