October is a favorite time of year in the Midwest. It’s not too hot, there’s a crisp feel to the air, and a tangy fragrance wafts in the wind. This smoke-tinged perfume could be just the dying breath of trees as they shed their leaves and hunker down for winter, but it brings back sweet memories of apple harvests, and trick-or-treating and shuffling in the leaves on the walk home from elementary school. (On the way to school, I trudged rather than shuffled through the leaves.)
I’ve lived in the Kansas City area for most of my life, but I’m still discovering its treasures. One is the Prairie Center in Olathe, Kansas. On Oct. 10, some friends, family members and I joined two dozen others on a stroll through part of the center’s 300 acres. Frank Norman of Norman Ecological Consulting led the walk, which focused on native medicinal prairie plants. Sue Holcomb of Grasslands Heritage Foundation also pointed out many of the native plants in the prairie preserve, which includes 45 acres of virgin prairie. Virgin prairie means that the land was never plowed, which is very rare to find. Only five percent of the original tallgrass prairie remains today in the United States.
Here’s a post I wrote in the summer of 2008 about the Kansas City Symphony’s performance in the Flint Hills: Kansas City Symphony in the Flint Hills.
To learn more, click on these links.
Dennis Toll has stopped blogging here, but the blog still contains a lot of information about the prairie, as well as useful links.