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The transition from farm country to wild prairie educated me on what the land I grew up on had been stripped of. I love and will always love the community which I was brought up. I was surrounded by some of the most sincere, hardworking, and genuine people I have met to this day.

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Even if members of the farm industry wanted to make a change in their practice for the sake of prairie conservation, they might go broke doing so. It is as an opportunity to all who live in this country. Jilian There is a TV commercial that recently started airing on our local stations promoting corn. It mentions the new development of drought and herbicide resistant seed. It looks beautiful, but it is a lie.

I have seen it firsthand. In my younger years, I was a town kid, but we had a lot of friends that had ranches in western South Dakota, which was where our weekends were spent when time allowed. The rolling prairie with cows on it was what I was familiar with. It was fall. Most of the land was cropland that had recently been harvested, it looked barren and lonely.

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This along with the smell that permeated into the car was new to me. My dad Dan and his right hand man Erney Uncle Erney , exposed me to the wonder of what an untamed land held. Dan would point out grouse dancing grounds, or a spec in the sky that he could somehow identify, or the different grass species and what their function was in the plains ecosystem. A few years later our family moved to our current home.

It is a ranch comprised of flat stretches that dump down into a series of river breaks stretching out to the Cheyenne River.

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I remember the first time I saw the ranch, it was big and beautiful, but there were vast acres of degraded farm ground. It was so different from the Broken Heart ranch. Wildlife was sparse in that area and reclamation of it seemed impossible.

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I was scared for my dad. But Dan and Erney did not share my fear. I witnessed the two of them spending their money, energy, and time planting native seed back to these areas where the ground had been degraded or broken. For years it did not look hopeful, and then finally one year with the help of good spring rains, shoots of little bluestem, western wheat grass, and blue gramma begin to appear in the once lifeless ground.

Along with the new forage came the return of the wildlife. Their efforts had paid off, not in dollars but in the change that is needed and possible, and has so much more value for us all. Lincoln Hosler Jones with a little help from his family I live on the prairie.

Minnesota Prairie Roots | Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My mom and dad are really nice. They work on the ranch and in the office.

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My mom even milks a cow and sometimes when we are doing our chores the wind almost blows us over. My favorite thing to do though is ride in the tractor with my dad. He is really funny and strong too. My grandpa also takes me with him to check out the ranch. We look for grouse, because he really likes them.

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  8. Today we saw a bunch and we also saw three owls. An owl says, hoo, hoo. I know I am a lucky boy to live here, but I think a lot of kids would like to see the prairie and all the animals that live here. Maybe someday I could show them. Keep up the great work and stewardship of the animals and land. Good article. Hope with all my heart, and I also work daily online , for the restoration and preservation of our prairies and also our wild places, natural balance of flora and fauna.

    I do question your use of words- "rabid environmentalists ". As a life long environmentalist, degreed, and steward of 2, acres of beautiful land, who greatly appreciate what Dan and family have accomplished and continue to strive for, and also a customer of Wild Idea, I wonder why you would choose to alienate the very people who hold our lands dear, fight for them everyday to remain in, or restore to natural balance, especially now that we have a pres.

    May the buffalo roam forever on our plains. Sincerely, Gina Obrien. Hope you will edit my comment. Stupid me, not to check. I pray that you and your family persevere in this very important issue. Having grown up on a dairy farm, I many times think of the lessons my dad taught us kids about taking care of the land. We always left the wild pasture land and wood lots in their natural state for the various birds and animals many of which are rarely seen anymore due to lack of their natural habitat.

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    Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

    It will take up the entire first floor of the building, and is being designed by Kilbourne Group. As they begin the development process, their greatest need is to attract members, Biller said. Once the co-op is open, members will receive special discounts. Currently there are members, and the goal is to have at least by their opening date in Fall