Logos change from time to time but there has been one thing consistent with what I choose to represent a core value in my work. The logo you see has as its base principle the representation of our grasslands. The grasses image represents the place that has been my lifelong home, the prairie, more specifically the tallgrass prairie. Grasses, one of the most abundant flora on the planet representing more than just something we have to mow in the summer.
I have also replaced the singular description of “photographer” or “photography” with what I feel to be a more accurate description of what I do and how I choose to present my work; “Photographic Artist”. Based in the believe the camera is simply a tool to capture material that is then translated into a developed, finished form of art in a personal and self-described manner.
Some history of grasses and our grasslands
Grasses became dominant during the Cretaceous period some 65 million years ago and to this day exist on every continent except Antarctica. They have adopted to thrive from rain forest to dry desert, cold mountains to coastal beaches. Grasses are the most valuable food resource for all fauna life on earth both wild or domestic, without grasses man never would have survived. From millions of bison on the prairies throughout the plains of North America to the vast African Savannas grasses have been the key to life on earth. So the grasses logo holds more then just symbolism to me when it comes to nature, to me it is the key to why and how nature as we know it exist today.
Exquisite beauty comes to the tallgrass prairie each autumn, as the grasses some reaching over head high begin to turn from their summers green to a glowing bronze deep with golden tones. The vastness of this natural array of color can overwhelm those not use to seeing such a sight that can stretch from horizon to horizon. A truly remarkable landscape matched nowhere else on earth.
The tallgrass prairie is an ecosystem native to central North America, with fire as its primary periodic disturbance. In the past, tallgrass prairies covered a large portion of the American Midwest, just east of the Great Plains, and portions of the Canadian Prairies. They flourished in areas with rich loess soils and moderate rainfall of around 760 to 890 mm (30 to 35 in) per year. To the east were the fire-maintained eastern savannas. In the northeast, where fire was infrequent and periodic windthrow represented the main source of disturbance, beech-maple forests dominated. In contrast, shortgrass prairie was typical in the western Great Plains, where rainfall is less frequent and soils are less fertile.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, north of Strong City. The preserve protects a nationally significant example of the once vast tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Of the 400,000 square miles (1,000,000 km²) of tallgrass prairie that once covered the North American continent, less than 4% remains, primarily in the Flint Hills.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a new kind of national park. The preserve is 10,894 acres (44 km²), but most of that land will remain under the ownership of the The Nature Conservancy, which purchased the land in 2005. The National Park Service may own up to 180 acres (0.7 km²), yet the legislation calls for the entire area to be managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the The Nature Conservancy.
On September 20, 2002, approximately 32 acres (129,000 m²) were donated to the National Park Service from the National Park Trust who was the private landowner at the time. This area includes the 1881 historic ranch house, limestone barn and outbuildings, and one-room schoolhouse.
Tallgrass Prairie is the nation’s second newest national preserve and the park is still under development with visitor opportunities continually being expanded.
There are currently five maintained hiking trails in the preserve allowing visitors access to the tallgrass prairie. During the summer, narrated bus tours of the prairie are offered.
On January 29, 2008, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve was named as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.
In 2009, The Nature Conservancy introduced a small herd of bison into the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
The following paragraph is a quote from the book Great Plains, Americas Lingering Wild by Michael Forsberg with Dan O’Brien, David Wishart, and Ted Kooser. I met Michael in 2010 at The Great Plains Nature Photographers annual meeting in Pittsburgh Kansas. A humble passionate man who cares deeply about this lingering wild place called the great plains. His book “Great Plains America’s Lingering Wild” is a remarkably beautiful hardcover large bound account of history and the unquestionable need to protect these great lands, complete with stunning photography as provided by Michael. I highly recommend it.
The tallgrass prairie must have been a sight to behold. Early travelers struggled to capture in words its immensity and diversity, its fragrance, its teeming wildlife, its strangeness. William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition frequently wrote about this plentitude in his journal. On July 30, 1804, Clark climbed the bluffs of the Missouri River Valley in what is now Washington County, Nebraska, to gain a view of the country. Before hime he saw “the most beautiful prospects imaginable,” a seemingly boundless upland prairie of little bluestem, needlegrass, and prairie dropseed, with big bluestem on the lower slopes. “Nature appears to have exerted itself to beautify the scenery by the variety of flowers,” Clark wrote. He specifically noted bright yellow sunflowers ten feet high, but also would have seen slender white prairie cover, silvery leadplant, bushes of purple aster, and many of the other 250 varieties of forbs that added profusion and color to each square mile of the prairie.
The Great Plains were once among the greatest grasslands on the planet. But as the United States and Canada grew westward, the Plains were plowed up, fenced in, overgrazed, and otherwise degraded. Today, this fragmented landscape is the most endangered and least protected ecosystem in North America.