PictureA good day for the mosquitoes

Landmark crews have worked in -20 and +104 temps on Montana’s vast grasslands this year; however, perhaps the greatest challenge any crew has faced has been the plague of mosquitoes caused by flooding in late August after more than five inches of rain fell in a single weekend. At times the insects have been so thick, they stood out against the sky like columns of smoke.  

The September crew not only completed all their fieldwork, they remained in Buffalo Camp, despite having an option to move into a nearby ranch house. It was the crew’s indefatigable humor and camaraderie—evident in the following post—that allowed them to persevere.     –Mike Quist Kautz

Story and photos by Christin M. Jones

As my time on the prairie comes to an end, I reflect back on all I’ve experienced and learned in the past two months. 

Some lessons are simple: Whether crossing under an electrified fence or using mother nature’s bathroom, beware of prickly pear cactus. Other more complex knowledge has developed over time. I now know, for example, that although this landscape is harsh and unforgiving, it is also is full of hidden beauty, unexpected gems around over every hill. 

But one of the most important lessons for me personally—and something all future Landmark crews should know—is the art of prairie fashion.

In an age of nylon, micro-fleece, Gore-tex and sweat-wicking technologies, we find ourselves more comfortably outfitted than ever before, fit to survive the harshest conditions. But that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice looking fabulous. So, during your time on the prairie, I challenge you to be creative, daring and bold in your clothing choices.

Here are my hard-learned tips on fashion while living and working on the prairie. You can thank me later.

Prairie Chic – 7 Style Tips for the Adventure Scientist
1. Are your pants wet from hiking in the rain? Sofia Haggberg illustrates how to turn an average fleece pullover into a trendy skirt. Prairie chic!
2. Rainwear doesn’t simply protect you from the elements. In this photo by Laura Hitt, Hendrikje Schroeder sports head-to-toe waterproof gear that also keeps the biting insects at bay.
3. Remember that fashion is an expression of the individual. Here Morgan Cardiff models a bohemian look, which kept him warm on cool prairie mornings.
4. The mosquitoes are buzzing, and you forgot your head net? No problem. Jason Gregg shows how a simple flannel shirt can serve as a mozzie veil in a pinch.
5. While camping on a mountain, did a rodent snack on your favorite shirt? Laura Hitt demonstrates how animals can create cutting-edge fashion statements.
6. Don’t be afraid to dress up. Sofia Haggberg shows us that black tie is appropriate for special celebrations.
7. Accessories are your best friend on the prairie, and can turn a functional outdoors outfit into a stylish ensemble fit for nearly any social gathering, as showing in this photo by Mike Quist Kautz:

Christin Jones grew up in a small agricultural town in northeastern Ohio and graduated from the College of Wooster with a B.S. in archaeology. Following a summer working in Glacier National Park, she moved to Washington D.C. and worked at the Jane Goodall Institute, where she helped Dr. Goodall with her book Hope for Animals and Their World.

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