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Courtney Eilts
Not Just One Big Field of Grass

I came from a high school of environmental studies in Minnesota, so BioBlitz on American Prairie Reserve was a fun opportunity to get away and do something I'm interested in.

The time we spent on the prairie for BioBlitz was an eye-opening experience. Beforehand, I thought of the prairie as just kind of tall grass. Just grass--and that's what I thought it was. It was really cool to go out there and actually see that there's variation in the land and it's not just one big field of grass. I didn't realize there were that many animals and that many different types of shrubs and plants and even trees. I really didn't expect to find all that wildlife. The amount of biodiversity on the prairie surprised me in general.

I really enjoyed talking to scientists at BioBlitz and hearing how they were so passionate about their research. I remember talking to the scientist who specialized in flies, and I didn't know someone could be so passionate about flies. I could see myself someday being that person who's super passionate about flies.

If I went back to the Reserve, I think camping there would be awesome. I also hope I can make connections with professors to possibly do field work there.