Writing the Zumwalt Prairie

In the NE corner of Oregon in Wallowa County lies a little visited wonder known as the Zumwalt Prairie. I recently returned from a five day writing workshop in this remote place and still memories swirl in my mind like the prairie wind.

This 330,000 acre bunchgrass prairie remains largely intact as the high elevation averaging 4,000 feet, poor soils, and harsh weather conditions made it unsuitable for the plow. This was a summering ground for the Nez Perce tribe before white settlers and broken treaties ultimately exiled them from their lands. This land is still home to a plethora of wildflowers, elk, deer, badgers, bird, and insect species, many of them threatened.

The Nature Conservancy owns and operates 36,000 acres of this land.  It’s a nature preserve but part of its mission is to work with the local ranchers integrating them with their mission of conservation work which includes biological inventories, ecological monitoring and preserving biodiversity.  It’s a partnership with conservation and private interests.  Careful grazing management is part of the picture.  The Nature Conservancy field station was a farmstead abandoned years ago as the harsh conditions of hot summers, frigid winters, poor soil, and remoteness made it too difficult to farm.

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The Day after Earth Day

April 23  by Alanna Pass

IMG_2039
art by the author

The Earth continues to give

And we take away…

 

Have you thanked the trees

for the house where you stay

and noticed the birds

who light up your day?

Do you bless the soil

that grows your crops

and the wind that cools you

when the land grows hot?

Are you grateful for the rain

that quenches your thirst

and helped the creatures

who lived here first?

 

The Earth continues to give

and we take away

what have you done for the Earth today?

Continue reading “The Day after Earth Day”