National Prairie Day: Celebrating America’s Grasslands and Advocating for their Conservation

By Trish Svoboda

This Saturday, June 1, is National Prairie Day. Beginning in 2016 by the Missouri Prairie Foundation, it is a day recognized on the first Saturday of every June to celebrate the ecological value of America’s grasslands.

National Prairie Day presents an opportunity to educate the community about the importance of safeguarding, conserving, and rejuvenating the environment.

The term ‘prairie’, originating from the French word for ‘meadow’, refers to a flat grassland with a temperate climate. The North American prairie formed about 8,000 years ago due to receding glaciers gave way to fertile sediment. However, a combination of mismanagement, the stock market crash, and drought conditions led to the failure of many farms in the Midwest.

Bordered by the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains, the North American prairie spans 15% of the continent’s land area. Currently, only 1% of the tallgrass prairie in the United States has managed to avoid the impacts of farming or expansion.

Prairies are a vital part of our ecosystem, supporting native birds, pollinators, and insects, and providing homes to buffalo, deer, rabbits, and other wildlife. National Prairie Day aims to bring awareness and education to help preserve our grasslands.

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