American Prairie Reserve is one of my most favorite places on the planet, and I deeply thank all who have contributed to its growing success. My husband Tom and I first visited APR in 2009 when there were only 64 bison and, with only a modest sized grazing area, they were easy to find. As their area expanded, I donated a GPS location collar for the lead female so that the herd could be located easily on a computer. It worked well and I was able to complete several studies on herd movement in relation to local weather, all from my home in Virginia.
Tom and I returned to the APR in May 2013. We spent two days with World Wildlife Fund biologist Dennis Jorgensen and were stunned by the advances and expansion on the Reserve. In a one-day expedition, we identified 30 different species of birds and were awed by the vast and changing landscape of the APR prairie – and we saw only a small portion of the total acreage.
The biggest change we noted was the size of the bison herd and the territory that groups could cover in a short amount of time. We checked the collar location before heading out but, on arriving, the herd may have moved to the other side of the range and, due to the herd size, was clustered in smaller groups at some distance from each other. And the most distinguished bulls were elsewhere, eating the fresh, green grass that grew after last fall's prescribed burn.
The days on the APR could not have been more memorable, with the abundance of natural flora and fauna living at ease under a warm, summer sun. You readers made this happen by demonstrating your enthusiasm for natural life through your contributions. I'm proud of you and very thankful. I'm sure the birds and bison are thankful, too.