The Prairie Builders: Reconstructing America’s Lost Grasslands

The Prairie Builders: Reconstructing America’s Lost Grasslands

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Middle Grades Science Book Winner!

The AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science books honors outstanding science books for children and young adults. Each year, winning books are chosen by a committee of scientists, teachers, and librarians. Winning books are factually sound and use interesting stories and vivid illustrations to encourage children and young adults to explore scientific concepts. The above link directs you to the 2006 SB&F Prize-winning book.

For Educators

Prairie Builders, written and photographed by Sneed B. Collard, III, tells the remarkable story of an effort to bring back part of the native tallgrass prairie in Iowa. Readers learn where the vision for a new prairie came from and how scientists and volunteers are working together to make the vision a reality. The text includes striking photographs, taken by the author, which help bring the project to life.

Read independently or as a class, the book could serve as a great introduction to tallgrass prairies, native plants, and restoration ecology. Ask students to discuss or write about the importance of restoring tallgrass prairies; the difference between native and non-native species; and the use of fire in prairie restoration.

Part of the Scientists in the Field Series, this book also gives students a first-hand look at the day-to-day activities of real-life scientists. The book challenges stereotypes students may have of scientists only wearing white coats and working in labs. Encourage students to explore the array of tasks performed by each scientist in the book and to further investigate other jobs scientists perform outside of a lab setting.

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