The Tallgrass Prairie: An Introduction

The Tallgrass Prairie The Tallgrass Prairie Northwestern University Press

Cindy Crosby

Northwestern University Press, 2017

Cindy Crosby, naturalist, teacher, and author of By Willoway Brook and other works, has written a thorough yet concise introduction to the tallgrass prairie that will enchant prairie-lovers and entice the curious. With her inviting prose, she ushers readers into the wonders of this ancient landscape which once stretched across the central states of America. She tells us about the history of the land and its people: how prairies are formed and how Native Americans and then European settlers lived, traveled, and responded to the tallgrass prairie, including folklore and medicinal uses for plants.

Crosby explains why prairies, the most degraded and disappearing ecosystem on our continent, are valuable today as havens of conservation for native wildflowers and animals--most famously, the American bison. Prairies are also sanctuaries of inspiration for artists and writers and walkers who crave an escape from the cities and highways of concrete and asphalt. That natural heritage must be preserved through prairie conservation and restoration, and Crosby teaches us about invasive plants, the process of prairie restoration: from preparing the soil to planting the seeds and collecting new ones again in the fall.

Her passion for the prairie is contagious, and once we are smitten by its beauty, no doubt we will want to be a part of the effort to preserve and restore them. For that, Crosby offers advice for being well-equipped for working in the field and the endless pleasure of learning about its flowers, grasses, and creatures. The book has exquisite illustrations of prairie plants and is complete with a glossary and extensive bibliography and resource information. If you are looking for a compact beginner’s guide to this precious landscape of the Midwest that is packed with information, legends, and history, The Tallgrass Prairie: An Introduction is a delightful treat and prairie treasure all its own.

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