Student Review

Karishma attended the 2006 AAAS/Subaru Prizes award ceremony where she presented this outstanding review of The Prairie Builders. A special thank you to Karishma for taking part in the awards ceremony.

Our world holds an enormous beauty that takes most of us our whole lives to notice. Unfortunately, we only realize its charm after we destroy most of it. In the end, no matter how hard we try, Earth can never be restored to its full, potential beauty. And yet, we are left to hope that somewhere amongst all those who are enticed by money, there are people who see the elegance of nature and choose to put their time, love, and care into bringing some of its lost treasure back to us again.

The Prairie Builders, by Sneed B. Collard III, is a book about reconstructing the grasslands of America. The book shows the significance of the problem the grasslands faced: a rapid transition into farmland. When Europeans first came to America, they thought the dry grasslands of no use. Eventually, they came to realize how great the prairie soil was for farming. As a result, they turned most of it into farmland. The vast grasslands that once prevailed over the central part of our country have been reduced to small remnants, each only about a few hundred acres in size.

The book tells a story about a team of biologists whose goal is to bring back some of the prairie and its inhabitants. This project started when Congressman Neal Smith purchased a vast amount of land in Iowa for the purpose of rebuilding the prairie. This, however, had to be done from scratch. They were eventually able to find seeds of plants that used to grow in the prairie. Over a long period of time, they achieved their goal and established a new prairie full of life.

My favorite part of this book is definitely what I learned from it. We are losing our world so rapidly that we are now holding on to it by only an inch. If we lose it forever, we will never be able to see the world as it once used to be, untouched by humans. One might think that there is nothing that can be done now to change what has happened. But there is! If a group of people can bring back the prairie, then we collectively can definitely do something substantial as well.

I used to think no teenager would appreciate a book about lost ecosystems, but this book changed my view completely. Reading this book made me realize that there is so much more out in our world than just me. It not only wiped away my ignorance, it inspired me to do more for my environment. I have never been to the prairie. But now I wish to go and see it. I want to see the grass waving back and forth in the steady wind, the animals softly chattering, and the beautiful and rare Regal butterfly happy to be back home: in the prairie. I shall conclude with a quote for you ponder on.

"If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it." - Lyndon B. Johnson

Age 13
Ladue Middle School
St. Louis, MO