Columbia Tribune Features MPF

When French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet mapped their way down the upper Mississippi River in 1674, fully 15 million acres of Missouri were prairie. European settlement of the state began in Ste. Genevieve in 1735, and by 1860, more than 1 million people had set down roots in Missouri, and the vast prairie ecosystem began disappearing. Today, tall-grass prairies occupy less than 90,000 acres in the state.

“It is, along with other temperate grasslands of the world, the least conserved, most threatened major terrestrial habitat type,” said Carol Davit, executive director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) and editor of its magazine, Missouri Prairie Journal.   READ MORE