Landmark is ASC’s groundbreaking project to provide “boots on the ground” support for the American Prairie Reserve management team. Wildlife survey crews consist of skilled outdoors men and women who live and work on Montana’s northern Great Plains, collecting data that informs APR’s conservation management decisions.
The American Prairie Reserve may well be the gumbo capital of the world – gumbo mud that is. It pervades eastern Montana and has become part of daily life for our Landmark volunteers. 

Often made of bentonite clay, this stuff turns slicker than goose poop after a rainstorm. 

“Some Eastern Montanans use the term gumbo and bentonite interchangeably,” according to the Billings Gazette. “But bentonite is a specific slick, sticky form of clay with its own unique chemical makeup… Bentonite comes from volcanic ash that dates back 100 million years or more. The ash settled in a vast inland sea and underwent specific chemical changes.”
Teri Ness, of the June crew, recently sent in the following poems about life this season on the Reserve. 

A Prairie Afternoon

                           Crouching in a coulee 
                                         rain pouring down
                                                       hail mingling in
              water trickling under your gators
                                                                filling up your socks
                                        Lightning flashes
                                                                 splitting the sky
                                                                               You should be afraid
                                                                                            even crouching you’re still tall
                                                                             But each flash of light
                                                                  and beat of thunder
                                       courses through your veins
                                                                 Making you feel alive

PictureGumbo Man. Photo by Rachel Herring

Gumbo days!

Gumbo = rain + clay + bentonite
Gumbo = 20 extra pounds on your feet
Gumbo = slipping and sliding and fright
Gumbo = no driving





Oh, God!

Find more about this project and apply for a crew position on the Landmark page. Learn more about ASC projects on our blog, and by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.