The tallgrass prairie once stretched from Indiana to Kansas to Minnesota. Most of this land is now growing corn and soybeans. In To Find a Pasqueflower, Greg Hoch shows us that the tallgrass prairie is the most endangered ecosystem on the continent, but it's also an ecosystem that people can play an active role in restoring.
Hoch blends history, culture, and science into a unified narrative of the tallgrass prairie, with an emphasis on humans' participation in its development and destruction. Hoch also demonstrates how variable and dynamic the prairie is, creating both challenges and opportunities for those who manage and restore and appreciate it.
Chapter 1. Prairie, People, and Perceptions
A Prairie Education
Chapter 2. Where the Prairie Begins
The Next Prairie Visit
Chapter 3. Where the Prairie Ends
Chapter 4. Historic Prairie Fires
Chapter 5. A Stable, Balanced, Cooperative Equilibrium
Conversing with the Dead
Chapter 6. Prairie Flora
What We Know
Chapter 7. Modern Fires, Plant Community, and Productivity
Ashes to Ashes
Chapter 8. Prairie Remnants
Prairies I've Known
Chapter 9. Prairie Belowground
Only Gravel Ridges Are Poor Enough
Chapter 10. Prairie Beasts
An Acceptable Substitute
Chapter 11. Prairie Feathers
Chapter 12. Prairie Insects
Chapter 13. Patches, Mosaics, and Management
Through a Lens
Chapter 14. Prairie Trees
Lawns of God
Chapter 15. Prairie Restoration
Keeping the Cogs and Wheels
Chapter 16. New Advocates for Prairie Conservation
Greg Hoch works as a prairie habitat supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He is the author of Booming from the Mists of Nowhere: The Story of the Greater Prairie-Chicken (Iowa, 2015), Sky Dance of the Woodcock: The Habits and Habitats of a Strange Little Bird (Iowa, 2019), and With Wings Extended: A Leap into the Wood Duck's World (Iowa, 2020). He lives near Cambridge, Minnesota.
"To Find a Pasqueflower invites us into the love of Greg Hoch's life: America's unfathomably complex tallgrass prairies. Science-based chapters summon us to look more closely and ask more questions. Enticing personal essays speak of landscapes of the heart and soul – springtime's emergence, wolves glimpsed on the trail, the booming of prairie chickens. Hungry for prairie? This book will feed your desires."
– Cornelia F. Mutel, author, A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland
"Greg Hoch has created a truly valuable new contribution to the literature on prairies. He skillfully weaves together historical accounts, past and current ecological research, a naturalist's keen observations, and the personal story of his own journey of discovery to create a rich and diverse picture of these mysterious and ever-changing natural communities. Of particular note is the depth of his research, reflected in the amazing array of fascinating quotes scattered throughout the book and his comprehensive references. Hoch poses more thought-provoking questions than he answers, giving an accurate portrayal of how much we still have to learn about prairies and how to care for them. This is a must-have volume for anyone interested in prairies as a naturalist, ecologist, land manager, artist, or casual enthusiast."
– Scott Fulton, president, the Prairie Enthusiasts
"Hoch blends history, science, and personal experience to paint a richly detailed portrait of the North American tallgrass prairie. He also highlights the role of humans in the development and near disappearance of the prairie and the need for action to preserve this iconic ecosystem for future generations."
– John Blair, director, Konza Prairie Biological Station