Monday, September 17, 2012

Perfect Day to Visit the Prairie

On Saturday, the weather was perfect. The temperature was warm, but not hot, and the sky was sunny and filled with big, puffy clouds. After a hot, dry summer, this nice day was a welcome relief.

As I drove east along Interstate-80 toward Goose Lake Prairie State Park, I realized that 200 years ago, the flat areas along the highway would have been covered with a variety of tall prairie plants, mile after mile, for as far as the eye could see. What an amazing site that would have been!

Driving through the park to the visitor center, I noticed that the Goose Lake Prairie was ablaze with colorful and hardy plants. I parked at the visitor center, where I was scheduled to present a program and read Rachel and Sammy Visit the Prairie. It was tempting to spend the morning hiking through the prairie or hopping on one of the prairie wagon rides that were planned as a part of the annual Prairie Day celebration. I brought several plant specimens featured in this educational children's book that I had collected the day before from our small prairie plot at work and from my backyard prairie. However, looking at specimens indoors is different than seeing the prairie in its entirety.

Most prairie plants are deep-rooted perennials that are adapted to Midwestern weather extremes. Even though many parts of the country have been under drought conditions this summer, the prairie plants survived. But, this summer's dry weather changed the normal tremendous beauty of the prairie. While plants may have survived, they are not as tall as normal, and if the plants flowered, the blooms may not have been as spectacular as usual. But, a true prairie enthusiast appreciates the beauty at any time and knows that the next visit to the prairie will be a different view that may be even prettier than imagined.

The Goose Lake Prairie State Park is comprised of over 2500 acres of original prairie and represents the vegetation that once covered two thirds of Illinois. As a resident of the Prairie State, I think it is important for people to know a little about the prairie. I enjoy presenting educational programs using Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Skunk Books and hope that these books will inspire minds to appreciate and care for nature, even when times are tough, and the beauty is diminished.

I was excited to read the newly revised second edition of Rachel and Sammy Visit the Prairie to a group for the first time. This book, and my two others, Rachel and Sammy Visit the Forest and Rachel and Sammy Learn About Trees, have recently been released by Rising Phoenix Press, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to revise these books to improve them. I think the end result for all three books is wonderful, and I look forward to continuing to educate people on nature, using Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Skunk books.


  1. Hi Jannifer,

    Thanks so much for linking in to the Kid Lit Blog Hop! It's so nice to see you. We loved all three of your books - they truly are fabulous. All three of us (Mom, daughter and son) enjoyed them tremendously. We tore through all three very quickly.

    Have a wonderful weekend and I hope you'll join the Hop again! Cheers!

  2. Congrats on your books and wishing you many more successes! Have a lovely week! :O)

  3. Thanks again forr linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop! It's been fun reading about Rachel and Sammy :)

    1. Thank you! I just posted two more blog posts this week. If you have a few minutes to read them, I hope that you enjoy them!