National Prairie Day in the United States Date in the current year: June 4, 2022

National Prairie Day in the United States National Prairie Day is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of June. It was created by the Missouri Prairie Foundation to raise awareness of a North American ecosystem that has a significant biodiversity value and needs preservation.

prairie is an ecosystem belonging to the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands terrestrial biome. The term “prairie” typically refers to North American grasslands. The same habitat type is known as pampas in South America, veld in Southern Africa, and steppe in Eurasia. Prairies are characterized by a combination of grasses, herbs and shrubs as the dominant type of vegetation, moderate rainfall, and a temperate climate.

In the United States, prairies are found in the states of California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Outside of the U. S., prairies are found in Western Canada (the so-called Prairie Provinces include Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) and Northern Mexico.

Depending on rainfall and the quality of soil, North American prairies are divided into three main types: the tallgrass prairie, the shortgrass prairie, and the mixed-grass prairie. All three types of prairie contain various lush flora and fauna, but the mixed-grassed prairie is richer in biodiversity than the other two. Prairies provide an irreplaceable home for hundreds of species, from various grasses to prairie dogs to bison.

Due to their biodiversity, prairies typically have very rich, fertile soil. Because of this, large acreages of native prairie have been converted to agricultural lands since the 19th century. Because of this, only 1% of native tallgrass prairie in the United States remains untouched, which makes it one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems. Shortgrass prairie is less affected by human activity, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need protection.

The Missouri Prairie Foundation founded National Prairie Day in 2016 to raise public awareness of prairies and their value, recognize the importance of conserving the remaining original prairies, encourage the reconstruction of native grasslands, and bring together stakeholders from across the region to consolidate efforts in prairie conservation and reconstruction.

National Prairie Day sponsors include Grow Native! (the Missouri Plant Foundation’s native plant marketing and education program), the Ohio Prairie Foundation, the Prairie Preservation and Protection Project, the Missouri River Bird Observatory, and Powell Gardens (Kansas City’s botanical garden).

You can get involved with National Prairie Day by learning more about prairies, visiting a prairie if you live near one, participating in an event or events hold by your local conservation, outdoor, recreational, educational, or other related organization, donating to a prairie conservation non-profit, and spreading the word about the holiday on social media using the hashtag #NationalPrairieDay.

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Category

Ecological Observances

Country

USA

Tags

National Prairie Day, environmental observances, observances in the United States, prairies, prairie conservation