PRAIRIEFORM

Everyday excursions in the urban landscape

Shout-out to Prairieform in Landscape Architecture Magazine

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Prairieform's John Kamp and Place It's James Rojas in Landscape Architecture Magazine

A little shout-out in Landscape Architecture Magazine to Prairieform and our work with Place It! To see more of the work we’ve done with Place It! you may click here. For the full article, click here.

First flora data up

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Sonchus oleraceus, one of the plants found within the Vacant Lands Broakland site by John Kamp and Nina Rubin

THANK YOU to everyone who came out for the first Vacant Lands Botanical Spelunking event in May. Who knew sleuthing for weeds could be so much fun. Over the course of the next month we will be identifying every plant spotted and uploading the info onto the Vacant Lands site. To see the first flush of flora data collected, click HERE.

Botanical spelunkers unite!

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Participants from the first Prairieform Vacant Lands event, Botanical Spelunking 1, which took place in Berkeley and Oakland, California, on May 24, 2015.
Participants from the first Vacant Lands event, Botanical Spelunking 1

The first citizen-science event as part of PRAIRIEFORM‘s Vacant Lands project was held on May 24, in Broakland, CA. We didn’t know what we’d find when we set off to explore what was actually growing within vacant and neglected spaces within the study area. One possibility was: a whole lot of nothing. However, very shortly into the initial scouting and recording we quickly realized just how much plant diversity within the study area there truly is. It was actually pretty astonishing, verging on somehow moving.

We found plants we had never seen before growing in the most unlikely of spaces – cracks between asphalt and concrete, along busy, trafficky thoroughfares, and within narrow, completely unirrigated medians in the middle of multi-lane boulevards. Some were overtly beautiful, some oddly beautiful, some forbidding, others surprisingly detailed as long as you crouched down to get a closer look. All of them, though, we observed admirably eking out an existence within dismal growing conditions. There was something poetic and lovely about this, and I don’t think any of us expected to have that reaction. We felt like we were actually discovering something, something that you would think was so obvious that it wasn’t possible to be discovered in the first place, but it was. So the moniker Botanical Spelunkers, while crafted to be a bit cheeky and just somewhat apt, turned out to be particularly apt.

Over the next few weeks we will be uploading all of the plant data onto the Vacant Lands website. Stay tuned.

John Kamp

Our letter on bee die-offs featured in StarTribune

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beehive, EPA report, StarTribune, bee die-offs, letter of the day, John Kamp, PRAIRIEFORM

The EPA recently released a report on declining bee populations and potential causes. Their conclusions were perhaps more than disappointing: multiple causes, some human-made (re: neonicotinoids and other pesticides, habitat loss), some not (mites), so there’s really not much we can do. The Minneapolis StarTribune has been doing great ongoing coverage not simply of bee population decline but also on the vanishing prairie in Minnesota, and thus they did cover this story. We wrote a letter in response, not really to what the journalist wrote (which was great), but rather in response to the EPA’s conclusion that we can’t ban any of the pesticides called out, and the problem’s basically too vast, so let’s all just plant flowers and hope for the best. In short: a ridiculous cop-out. Anyway, the letter was featured in the StarTribune as their Letter of the Day, and you can read it here.

The irrigation-free landscape in the news

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KSTP Channel 5 just produced a great piece on the irrigation-free landscape. Happy viewing, everyone.

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