The trick of the quiet: winter on the northern prairie
ASC's newest staff member Mike Kautz joined the organization in September after several years working in Yellowstone National Park. Last week he spent two days on the American Prairie Reserve preparing for the February start of the Landmark wildlife survey. As he describes below the prairie is a landscape that rewards those who make the journey to visit.
Is it not likely that when the country was new and men were often alone in the fields and the forest they got a sense of bigness outside themselves that has now in some way been lost… Mystery whispered in the grass, played in the branches of trees overhead, was caught up and blown across the American line in clouds of dust at evening on the prairies.
-Letters of Sherwood Anderson
My first night on the prairie the thermometer dropped to nineteen below. By the time I’d made coffee, loaded my pack, and layered up the sun had risen and the temperature had almost doubled to twelve below. When I stepped out the door of the ranch house that serves as Reserve headquarters the air was dense and still. I planned to walk two transects in a day, sixteen miles, and I already wished I’d packed a warmer coat and a facemask. However, even small adventures like a walk on the winter prairie are only possible if you’re not sure you’ll succeed.
Bringing Adventure-Science to the American Prairie
From Marco Polo to Lewis and Clark wide open grasslands have long inspired adventurous spirits, and voyages of discovery. However, very few of these vast landscapes still exist unaltered. Only the steppes of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Patagonia and the Northern Great Plains of America have never been plowed and shelter remnants of their original biodiversity. Beginning in January 2014 Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) and American Prairie Reserve (APR) are partnering on an adventure-science wildlife study on the prairies of northeastern Montana.
Charles Scott and Family Finish the Lewis & Clark Trail
Charles Scott is an author, family adventurer and United Nations Climate Hero based in New York City. Charles is travelling across the US on the famed Lewis and Clark Trail by bicycle this summer and recording road kill observations for ASC along the way. He is joined by his family including his son, Sho (age 12) and daughter, Saya (age 6) and is planning to writing a book about their experience. Keep up with the Scott family on their blog.
I spent this past summer cycling 1,700 miles of the Lewis & Clark Trail with my children, ages 12 and 6. We worked with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) to collect data for a roadkill project, hoping to help reduce the impact of roads on wildlife.
After we returned to our home in New York City, my 12-year-old son said, “Before this trip, I didn’t think much about roadkill. I just assumed that, where you have roads, you’re gonna have dead animals. But I learned that so many animals don’t have to die, if people care enough to give them safe ways to cross.”
The Postcard Underground Surprises ASC
Have you ever heard of the Postcard Underground? Us either until last week. Turns out there is this nationwide group of people who pick an inspiring person, group or organization and inundates them with kind words through an age-old medium -- postcards. After all, who doesn't love a little "snail mail"? Receiving these notes is the kind of thing that really can turn a day around. So even though we don't know who you are, from all of us at ASC we say THANK YOU!
Martens, National Geographic, The Himalaya and Caves - November Updates from ASC
Don't miss our monthly newsletters. They are a great way to keep up with everything ASC is doing. This month you can read about our upcoming project in the Olympic National Forest, the results of Jeremy Jones' data collection in the Himalaya, a new project for cavers worldwide and so much more. Make sure you subscribe to get it delivered right to your inbox every month. But if you haven't, you can see it in its entirety after the break:
ASC interviews Pro Snowboarder Jeremy Jones About Nepal and Collecting Data for ASC
Recently ASC was connected with professional snowboarder and environmental advocate Jeremy Jones through our incredible friends at Clif Bar who are sponsors of both Jeremy and ASC. Jeremy was literally on his way out the door to cross the globe when we got ahold of him in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Jones was headed to Nepal with his sights set on some untouched, unvisited lines high in the Himalaya. There he was joined by a crew of professional snowboard mountaineers and a film crew from Teton Gravity Research who were filming for his next movie "Higher", the final installation in his "Deeper, Further, Higher" trilogy.
Read the Landmark Notes blog: