To Find a Pasqueflower
A Story of the Tallgrass Prairie
by Greg Hoch
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Pub Date 24 May 2022 | Archive Date 24 May 2022
University of Iowa Press, University Of Iowa Press
NATURE / MIDWEST
The tallgrass prairie once stretched from Indiana to Kansas to Minnesota. Most of this land is now growing corn and soybeans. In To Find a Pasqueflower, Greg Hoch shows us that the tallgrass prairie is the most endangered ecosystem on the continent, but it’s also an ecosystem that people can play an active role in restoring.
Hoch blends history, culture, and science into a unified narrative of the tallgrass prairie, with an emphasis on humans’ participation in its development and destruction. Hoch also demonstrates how variable and dynamic the prairie is, creating both challenges and opportunities for those who manage and restore and appreciate it.
“To Find a Pasqueflower invites us into the love of Greg Hoch’s life: America’s unfathomably complex tallgrass prairies. Science-based chapters summon us to look more closely and ask more questions. Enticing personal essays speak of landscapes of the heart and soul—springtime’s emergence, wolves glimpsed on the trail, the booming of prairie chickens. Hungry for prairie? This book will feed your desires.”—Cornelia F. Mutel, author, A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland
“Greg Hoch has created a truly valuable new contribution to the literature on prairies. He skillfully weaves together historical accounts, past and current ecological research, a naturalist’s keen observations, and the personal story of his own journey of discovery to create a rich and diverse picture of these mysterious and ever-changing natural communities. Of particular note is the depth of his research, reflected in the amazing array of fascinating quotes scattered throughout the book and his comprehensive references. Hoch poses more thought-provoking questions than he answers, giving an accurate portrayal of how much we still have to learn about prairies and how to care for them. This is a must-have volume for anyone interested in prairies as a naturalist, ecologist, land manager, artist, or casual enthusiast.”—Scott Fulton, president, the Prairie Enthusiasts
“Hoch blends history, science, and personal experience to paint a richly detailed portrait of the North American tallgrass prairie. He also highlights the role of humans in the development and near disappearance of the prairie and the need for action to preserve this iconic ecosystem for future generations.”—John Blair, director, Konza Prairie Biological Station
Average rating from 2 members
Tallgrass prairie once covered millions of acres in the central part of North America. At one time, big bluestem, switchgrass, sunflowers and many other grass, flower and animal species were untouched until the plow changed the landscape forever. Greg Hoch has written an extensive book on discovering areas of virgin prairie and how it appeared and was used by the indigenous people in this area. Today, untouched prairie areas are found in agricultural areas, in a pioneer cemetery, and alongside railroad right-of-ways. Hoch, who is a prairie habitat supervisor for the the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, offers extensive research and descriptive accounts of prairie flora, including the pasqueflower, one of the earliest bloomers on the tallgrass prairie. Hoch states: "Once you get into the prairie, once you fall in love, the grasses and forbs and birds and mammals and clouds and weathers will slowly but surely seep into you." As a self-described prairie ecologist and conservationist, Hoch starts each chapter with rich quotes from historic literature and ends each chapter with a walk with his four-legged friend on an observation of flowers and grasses as they stroll through the prairie. With the extensive research and information found in this book, it could be used as a textbook for an ecology class or to be enjoyed as an informative read about the prairie ecosystem and how to preserve what remains through conservation and restoration of this valuable resource.