This post was written by Hubbard Fellow Sarah Lueder. She’s been playing with prairie slogans and asking other staff to help. In this post, she brings you into that world too. Enjoy! – Chris
Anyone who is open with their love for prairies is bound to be met with a less than enthusiastic response occasionally. I am guessing that is why Chris’s recent post, The Tribulations of a Prairie Evangelist, resonated with this audience. Inspired by the poster at the end of the post, I wanted to create more visuals that leaned into the fact that the uninitiated might have low expectations for prairies. I asked some of the Nature Conservancy staff to come up with some tongue-in-cheek slogans to help with this. Here are some of my favorites, made into very motivational posters.
Ok, admittedly, not everyone is even going to agree with this one. Some people are just going to like a short, cropped monoculture of Kentucky bluegrass more than a prairie. BUT, I would like to see them look over a field of waving big bluestem and Indian grass at sunset while a meadowlark sings nearby and a crisp wind rolls across the plains and tell me that a lawn is better. Maybe it still would be to them. If they liked being wrong.
This reminds me of a quote from Suzanne Winckler’s Prairie: A North American Guide (2004): “A prairie requests the favor of your closer attention. It does not divulge itself to a mere passerby.” Very wise, Winckler, and might I add, “Unlike forests, the most divulging of the ecosystems.” Don’t get me wrong, I love a forest! Just like the next person.
We all had our own path to prairies. Maybe it was an introduction from a friend, a meaningful moment on a hiking trail, or a class that turned your attention towards them. But I think it’s time that we champion a new prairie species to bring people in. That’s right… ticks! When it’s tick season they will be sure to do their best to welcome you with a hug and be right by your side as you explore. Admittedly, they can be a little clingy, but they were the most eager volunteers.
I could amend this one to say “Prairies: the Midwest yard you don’t have to mow… but you can if you think that will bring you closer to your management objectives… or you can light it on fire if you want… or graze it… or do a combination of those things… just make sure you have some type of disturbance though.” However, for the sake of graphic design, I will leave it as is.
How do you draw people into prairies? Botanical accuracy! Just kidding. I don’t want to scare people away from prairies by throwing words like “forb” around. It’s all about meeting people where they are.
That’s the last of them, and now that you are filled to the brim with inspiration, I am sure you are wondering how to put it to use. To that I say, keep spreading the good word about prairies, however irreverent and sardonic it may be. To start, you might create your own slogan, and leave it in the comments!