tallgrass prairie | KCUR

tallgrass prairie

Segment 1: What it's like to be the first woman in charge at the Kansas City Fire Department.

As Donna Maize takes over as Fire Chief, she makes Kansas City history and achieves a lifelong dream.

Segment 2, beginning at 18:30: How a paywall is changing everything for the Shawnee Mission Post.

Bruce Schuette

Vast amounts of prairie speckled with wildflowers once covered Missouri. But today, little remains of what was once 15 million acres. The loss has been devastating blow to the state's ecosystem.

"We have reaped the benefits of prairie soils, becoming an agricultural powerhouse," says Carol Davit, executive director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. But in doing so, she says, the state has also lost vital resources and part of its cultural history.

Segment 1: Race Project KC is educating high school students on structural racism in Kansas City.

Built off of Tanner Colby's book "Some of My Best Friends Are Black," Johnson County Library takes students on a bus tour to provide lessons on the ways that segregration is ingrained in the foundation of the city. Shawnee Mission East student Oliver Henry said the tour helped her better understand the lack of diversity at her school. 

USFWS Mountain Prairie / Flickr--Creative Commons

Segment 1: How rising temperatures and a changing climate will affect the tallgrass prairies. 

The consequences of climate change are usually pictured as melting ice caps and islands being swallowed by rising sea levels. In the Midwest, where unpredictable weather is a staple of life, biologists say climate change is also altering the landscape of the tallgrass prairie, "one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world."

When it comes to fighting for a cause, some may picture protestors chaining themselves to machinery or going on hunger strikes. But a former journalist in Kansas fought a proposal for saltwater injection wells in a different way: she read a lot of documents and examined the tiny administrative details.

Then: two area researchers on how dogs and humans became friends, then an encore presentation of how a local musician found one family's long-lost Christmas tape at a thrift store.

Guests:

Miguel Vieira / Flickr - CC

During the 20th year of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, outside of Strong City, Kansas, a new documentary explores how the park was created and is sustained. Then, we learn about the life of Forrest "Phog" Allen, who amassed 590 wins in 39 seasons coaching the KU men's basketball team.

Edwin Olson/Google Images -- CC

    

Whether it's the sound of the wind rustling through the tall grass, the crackling spectacle of a controlled burn or just the sheer enormity of this swath of land, the prairie has inspired authors for hundreds of years. We discuss the best books about the prairie with our Book Critics Jeffrey Ann Goudie, Mark Luce and Kaite Stover.

USFWS Mountain Prairie / Flickr--Creative Commons

A drive through the Flint Hills in Kansas is one of the 10 iconic U.S. drives, according to Smarter Travel.

Route 177 from Cassoday, Kan. to Manhattan, Kan. runs 87 miles through the last of the rolling tallgrass prairie lands. Along the route are many small towns, including Cottonwood Falls and Council Grove.