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Remnants of prairie still present around Sauk Prairie


November 15, 2018

Amy Chamberlin

A Monarch butterfly on butterfly milkweed, above, and a field of prairie smoke going to seed, below.

What is prairie?

That is a question Aldo Leopold asked three quarters of a century ago in an essay titled "The Prairie: The Forgotten Flora."

To most Americans, the father of the Land Ethic wrote, prairie is "a flat place once dotted with covered wagons." A prairie was mostly that to me, too, as a small child enamored of westerns. The meaning of prairie later expanded slightly to include a quasi-real plain where a precocious girl and her struggling but loving pioneer family lived in their little house. Later still, prairie also became a place from which a Minnesotan baritone told folksy sto...

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