Edge of the Prairiethe sand prairies and savannas of the Chicago region

    A Sand County Today

In "A Sand County Almanac" Aldo Leopold recounted the pleasures of his run-down farm in central Wisconsin; thirty years later his simple diary is recognized as a milestone of environmentalist literature. The sandy soil memorialized in the Almanac's title rendered the place less than ideal for agriculture, but this economic shortcoming fostered a history of benign neglect.

Lena Park prairie in June

Leopold's farm had not been plowed fencerow to fencerow, and a fascinating native ecosystem was hanging on in the neglected corners--remnants of an open landscape of oak woodlands we now call savannas, interspersed with marshes and flower dappled openings of sand prairie. Leopold, a biology professor, began to take steps to help the natural ecosystem to heal itself on his land. And so, on that poor little farm in Wisconsin the sometimes-art and sometimes-science known as natural areas restoration was born.

Edge of the Prairie is dedicated to the understanding and enjoyment of this beautiful and pleasant landscape. Use the links at the upper right of this page to get started exploring, or read the section below to find out more. Don't let your explorations stop online - the real pleasures comes when you put on those hiking boots and hit the trail. Enjoy!

    What's on EOTP?

Vascular plants - meet some of the characteristic and unusual plants you'll find in sand prairies and savannas of the Chicago region. Newly updated, with improved images and useful links. Now that we've renovated, look for this area to grow throughout 2001!

Invertebrates - a few of the many invertebrate animals you'll encounter in sand country. Now with updated links.

Links - newly updated, and fully checked. A quick way to find some of the best online resources about prairies and savannas throughout the web.

Sources - books and articles for further reading. Now with links to Amazon.com for convenient book purchases and links to some of the best prairie and savanna bibliographic services on the web.

About Aldo Leopold - links to information and writings by Aldo Leopold, author of "A Sand County Almanac", and founder to the land ethic. One of the most popular pages on bigEastern.com.

The Edge of the Prairie ScreenSaver Click here to download the EOTP Screensaver 2000 - A photographic screensaver for the PC. Images of the Big Eastern sand prairies and savannas taken by your erstwhile editor on many lovely days during the summer of 2000, using a Nikon CoolPix 950. At 12.4 Megs it is a hefty download, but I wanted to keep the photographs high quality. Created using Macromedia Flash 4 and transformed into a screensaver using FlashForge, a nice shareware package; we tried many. I'm running it on my PC now, and it's working great, but of course, there's no warranty. After all, it is free. I've also created a version with a soundtrack, but that has been running a little rough. Maybe I'll clean it up and post it later, if there's interest in this one.

    Latest Updates

March 9, 2001. We've begun a major update and renovation of Edge of the Prairie with the posting of a completely redesigned Species section. EOTP has been online for five years now without a major redesign, so this was certainly due. The update will take advantage of the many things we've learned about online publishing since 1996, the greater capabilities of today's browsers, and will provide links to the growing body of information now online. The new design will help us enhance the content much more easily - look for lots of new species to be posted over the next few months.

sunflowers - Starke Co. Indiana

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