Flint Hills & Tallgrass Prairie

“The Flint Hills uplands are one of the most productive grasslands in the world.”
-Brian Obermeyer, Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal (2014) page 4

“People often ask me, ‘When is the best time to visit the Flint Hills.’ I usually reply, ‘Now,’ because visiting the Flint Hills can be life-changing.”
-artist Louis Copt, Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal (2012) page 136

“The Kansas prairie has become something of an endangered animal - a precious entity to be revered, celebrated, and protected . . .The gentle hills, the subtle wildflowers, the hidden streams, require a patient, receptive observer.”
-Alison C. Smith, Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal (2011) page 128

“This is a compelling story of science, indeed, but mostly it is a story of people and their connection to a very special place. It's about people who feel their souls in a stretch of land. Welcome to the land of tall grasses.”
-Lyle Lovett, Last Stand of the Tallgrass Prairie.

“The Flint Hills are a remarkable place, one that has been millions of years in the making, and one that deserves our understanding and respect today.”
-Brian Obermeyer and Rex Buchanan, Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal (2011) page 67

“The Flint Hills encompass the single largest tallgrass prairie landscape remaining in North America, with more tallgrass prairie remaining here than in all the other prairie states combined.”
-Brian Obermeyer and Rex Buchanan, Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal (2011) page 65

“The very toughness of this place-amply recorded by its early occupants - has helped preserve it.”
-Verlyn Klinkenborg, National Geographic Magazine, April 2007, reprinted in Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal (2012) page 13

“When you walk across the grassbound hills above Fox Creek, … it’s easy to pretend you’re striding through the past.”
-Verlyn Klinkenborg, National Geographic Magazine, April 2007, reprinted in Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal (2012) page 12

“Without relationship to [our] place, we are not fully creative or connected.”
-H. C. Palmer, Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal (2012) page 153

“Tallgrass prairie once covered over 250 million acres, but now only remnants of tallgrass remain.” Aimee Larrabee and John Altman, Last Stand of the Tallgrass Prairie, page 54.

“Tallgrass prairie once blanketed approximately 170 million acres of North American, from Texas up into Canada and from Kentucky west into Kansas. Only about 4 percent of the once vast sea of grass remains, making the tallgrass prairie the most altered ecosystem on the continent in terms of acres lost. Roughly two-thirds of what’s left is found in an approximate fifty-mile band of native rangeland that runs north to south across east-central Kansas and down into Oklahoma. This expanse of prairie is called the Flint Hills in Kansas and the Osage Hills in Oklahoma; collectively, the area is sometimes referred to as the Greater Flint Hills.”
-Brian Obermeyer, Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal (2014) page 3

“Tallgrass prairie is known for its sealike swaying grasses and the density of its various native flora. It prospers in disturbance-prone environments - disturbance that was provided historically by fire and bison, which prevented the ecosystem from morphing into woodland.”
-Jim Chliboyko, Canadian Geographic

[on loss of tallgrass prairie in other areas] “Studying the loss of tallgrass prairie over time, researchers at the University of Manitoba have found that its range has declined by more than one-third since the 1980s. They noted that smaller areas of tallgrass prairie, in particular, have suffered; 21 square hectares appears to be the threshold for whether a patch can thrive or expand farther. ‘They’re at the point where they’re so degraded, they’re not self-sustaining,’ says University of Manitoba researcher Nicola Koper. ‘We’re not in the position where you can just leave them on their own. They’re too small at this point.’”
-Jim Chliboyko, Canadian Geographic

Following quotations were Collected in Prairyerth by William Least Heat Moon (1991) - a “deep map” of Chase County, Kansas in the heart of the Flint Hills:

“To see and know a place is a contemplative act. It means emptying out minds and letting what’s there, in all its multiplicity and endless variety, come in.”
-Gretel Ehrlich, “Landscape,” introduction to Legacy of Light (1987) qtd. in PrairyErth page 5

“It is impossible to contemplate the life of the soil for very long without seeing it as analogous to the life of the spirit.”’
-Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America (1977) qtd. in PrairyErth page 7

“Prairies let us out…They aid to grow a roomy life.”
-William A. Quayle, The Prairie and the Sea (1905) qtd. in PrairyErth page 22

“Except by the measure of wildness, we shall never really know the nature of a place.”
-Paul Gruchow, “A Backyard Robin, Ho-Hum” (1988) qtd. in PrairyErth page 96

“Grasses are the greatest single source of wealth in the world.”
-Agnes Chase, First Book of Grasses (1959) qtd. in PrairyErth page 177

“The land belongs to the future.”
-Willa Cather, O Pioneers! (1913) qtd. in PrairyErth page 304

“The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of us all.”
-Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America (1977) qtd in PrairyErth page 606

“My crop is really grass, and cattle are just the means to harvest and package it.”
-Jane Koger qtd. In PrairyErth page 192.