Kansas’s prairie rapidly shrinking
The health of the dewy Kansas prairie is vital. It maintains the state’s watersheds and supports two major agricultural exports: cattle, and the wheat that becomes the nation’s bread.
Once North America’s largest ecosystem, the prairie now is rapidly shrinking: Less than 4% of the tallgrass prairie remains, according to the National Park Service, with most of it in Kansas, a state with very little public land.
That means that conserving the prairie is up to private landowners like Harder, along with farmers and ranchers. Some residents have made conservation their life mission, even spending years transforming their property into a native prairie preserve in their backyard.