Spring-Summer 2009




Orchid photo (left) by
Carol Freeman.

Prairie burn photo by
John Barrett.

Pine cone bud photo by
Mary Ramsden.

Welcome to the Spring-Summer 2009 edition

… half the horizon appeared like an advancing sea of fire,
with dense clouds of smoke flying towards the moon.

-- George Featherstonhaugh,
describing a nighttime prairie fire in 1847

After a long, hard Midwestern winter, it is always somewhat of a surprise to see the prairies and woods come to life after being buried under mountains of snow and buffeted by a season of wind and below zero temperatures. And as our thoughts turn to the renewal that comes with spring, it seems natural to be thinking about the historic importance of fires to replenishing life on the prairie. Today, our remaining remnant prairies are routinely torched by their managers and contributor John Barrett offers a contemporary take on one such experience. Also in keeping with our thoughts on preservation and new life, photographer Carol Freeman makes available to us photos of rarely seen species in Illinois, those that are endangered and threatened with extinction. The orchid on the top left of our home page is one of those rare flowers that hangs on to existence. We are also joined by numerous other contributors -- Rachel Kellum, Angela Just, Darsha Primich, and Fredrick Zydek to name just some of them -- whose work reflects their personal perspective with our world. The above introductory quote comes from The North American Prairie, a Peterson Field Guide, which includes detailed explanations of prairie ecology and helpful chapters on individual prairies that can be found throughout North America.

-- LeAnn Spencer, editor and publisher