National Prairie Day 2023: This year’s National Prairie Day, held on June 3, recognises the beauty and ecological significance of this often-overlooked ecosystem. The North American prairie, which spans more than a dozen American states and several Canadian provinces, is a vast grassland with more biodiversity and grandeur than most people realise. With their vast, gently undulating plains and highly fertile soils, prairies have been a prime location for agriculture and ranching for aeons. Today, only 1% of tallgrass prairie in the United States remains undeveloped or undisturbed by agriculture. National Prairie Day encourages the appreciation and conservation of the native prairies of the United States.
National Prairie Day 2023: History
The United States is home to a wide variety of environments and geographies. Some, such as the towering redwoods of California and the majesty of Niagara Falls, have global reputations as media darlings and tourist magnets. Other ecosystems, such as the modest prairie that encompasses a large portion of the interior United States, receive fewer accolades but play crucial roles in the nation’s development.
Prairie, which is defined as a temperate grassland and derived from the French word for’meadow,’ has become nearly synonymous with the expansion of the American frontier. The North American prairie, bordered by the Great Lakes and the majestic Rocky Mountains, covers 15% of the continent’s land area. The pampas of Argentina, the steppes of Central Asia, and the llanos of Venezuela are a few other examples of similar grasslands around the globe.
The prairie contains more than meets the eye. In fact, tall grass prairies are home to the greatest diversity of animals and vegetation in the Midwestern United States, including bison, antelope, elk, wolves, and bears.
Increasing land conversion for agricultural and pastoral purposes threatens the survival of native prairies. Because of its lush, fertile soil, prairie land is highly valued for agricultural purposes. Globally, nearly three-quarters of agricultural regions are situated in grassland regions. The American tallgrass prairie is now one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet, with less than one per cent of its original habitat remaining. National Prairie Day was established in 2016 by the Missouri Prairie Foundation to raise awareness and appreciation for the nation’s grasslands. By promoting responsible stewardship, supporting acquisition initiatives, and providing public education and outreach, the organisation seeks to protect and restore native grasslands.
National Prairie Day 2023: Activities
Discover the prairie
Perform some investigation to learn more about this significant American ecosystem and its role in the cultural and economic development of our nation.
Give to a conservation organisation.
If you are concerned about the disappearance of the American prairie, you should donate to a grasslands conservation organisation to support their efforts.
Plan a trip to a renowned prairie
Do you live alongside a prairie? Find the nearest grassland and arrange a trip there.
During the 1800s, when Americans embarked on the long voyage west, their covered waggons were frequently referred to as ‘prairie schooners.’
Prairie dogs reside in vast networks of underground burrows known as ‘towns,’ which can encompass hundreds of acres and house thousands of prairie dogs with complex social relationships.
Where buffalo wander
Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, up to 60 million bison roamed the plains; by 1885, only 600 remained.
One acre of intact prairie can absorb approximately one tonne of carbon per year, which can help combat climate change.
Emergence from the ruins
With more than 75% of their biomass residing below ground, prairie plants are uniquely adapted to surviving and flourishing after a wildfire, due to the fact that more than 75% of their biomass is buried.
National Prairie Day 2023: Significance
We rarely remember to celebrate grasslands, despite the prairie’s significance to the cultural past and environmental future of the United States.
With less than one per cent of America’s original prairie remaining, it is now more important than ever to conserve and defend this vital resource.
The United States has greater environmental diversity than nearly every other nation on Earth. Celebrating each ecosystem’s uniqueness serves as a reminder to value and preserve all of our nation’s natural beauty.
National Prairie Day 2023: Dates