Date: 5/29/19 8:32 am From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...> Subject: Prairie State Park, Missouri
Prairie State Park, about 30-miles north of Joplin, Missouri, is high-quality Tallgrass Prairie habitat once widespread in the Ozarks, including Northwest Arkansas City. I was up there yesterday with my musician neighbors Kelly and Donna, and their California friends, Eve and Rob. Kelly and Donna, the duo Still on the Hill, are both birders as well, plus they have taught for years at Halberg Ecology Camp. Eve and Rob are both birding active in southern California.
Prairie SP is a fairly easy 2 hours or so drive from Fayetteville. Of course at this time of year I am attracted to seeing and hearing Henslow’s Sparrows, Bell’s Vireo, and Willow Flycatchers, plus the chance, if milkweeds are blooming, of Regal Fritillaries, an elegance that has disappeared from Arkansas. But another is to immerse again in the path taken by Katharine Ordway. She turned her significant inherited wealth into saving 31,000 acres of prairies, including key additions to Prairie SP. Love of native prairie plants taught her balance between nature and material culture. A friend of mine calls this “environmental absolution.” That is, robber barons of our Earth usually do a lot of damage on the way up to $billions, but some ultimately realize just piling up cash is no ticket to heaven. That’s in the New Testament, too, by the way. I’m not sure donating to save the Earth will get you there, either, but surely if Earth was worth creating, it is also worth protecting. It’s sure worth a try.