Rollins Prairie Restoration

Rollins Restoration

Rollins Prairie Restoration

I’ve mentioned Rollins Savanna before in this blog. Here is one of my favorite stretches of the trail. You can see the magnificent white oaks in the distance. There is nothing quite like an open-grown oak, with room to spread wide its arching limbs. In the middle ground is the result of breaking drainage tiles. Right away the water came back to the land, bringing with it many birds. Success! And in the foreground is a patch of prairie. Brush cutting and prescribed burns keep this system in good health, while some judicious seeding of native forbs is reweaving the tapestry that provides food and shelter for a great number of creatures.

The farmer who owned this place before it became a preserve obviously took good care of the land. I hope he or his family are pleased with how it is turning out these days. Places like this are wonderful in their own right, but they also give me hope because of the human influence they represent. There are forces in the world that help to restore balance and healing. I believe these forces will prevail over the distortions that create fear, hatred and war.

Published by melissabluefineart

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37 thoughts on “Rollins Prairie Restoration

  1. Melissa, this is absolutely beautiful. You are so GOOD!! I love your words too. My husband and I do wetland and upland restoration. It is so rewarding, especially when we have 60 volunteers working with us. I love it when people care about the planet and want to help Her heal. Beautiful post. Thank you.

      1. Here

        There were no areas of reclaimed or restored ‘prairie’. It was farmland. There once was a house and several out buildings there. A cousin bought the acreage after my folks moved off of it. He burned most of the buildings so he could farm straight through. 😿

      2. My ex-husband grew up on a family farm. It is so sad to see the buildings begin to decay and come down in storms. Currently they are trying to save the barn but it is a huge expense.
        I’ve seen that, what you describe, of tearing out fencerows and buildings to plow straight through. It is really sad and ultimately takes the heart right out of a farm.

  2. Beautiful painting :-). I almost didn’t notice the bird! I love the way you captured the space – its welcoming openness, the beauty of everything large and small… and I think, for me, the overall mood of the colours is quiet but irrepressible joy.

    I am really glad such places exist and many people care for them.

      1. I think your painting and words inspire good comments :-). I think all your commenters were touched by the magnificence of this particular painting. You captured both the immense beauty of the place and how it feels for you. I find that even your paintings without humans in them feel like they have a human in them. They don’t feel like nature without people. I think that is why they are touching.

        Your painting reminds me of Fish Creek Park… especially in the morning… when the day is fresh and the sun is warming and bringing everything to life. Maybe we have similar feelings when we walk through such places :-).

      2. I think we must, because I always have a strong happy reaction to your posts when I see them. I’m really touched by what you said about my paintings looking like there is still a human presence even when I am not showing a human. I’m going to save this comment!
        I’m thankful for you, my friend.

      3. Thanks for your friendly words :-). I always appreciate your appreciation of natural spaces and your thoughts on the future of these spaces. I recently picked up A Sand County Almanac. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Gorgeous, beautiful and a lot more superlatives! Both your painting and the scene you captured. Wetlands are wonderful. It’s lovely to see more preserved.

  4. You’re right about the grandeur of oaks that have been allowed to spread. Texas is filled with pastures and rangeland dotted with “Lone Oaks” — there’s even a town by that name. And, when they gather together (“mott” is a word sometimes used), they’re heart-warming.

    One of my dreams is to get up to Kansas again, to see the burning of the tallgrass prairie in the spring. A couple of people I know have taken part, and the photos of the event are remarkable. As you suggested, there’s a lot of pre-planning. Burns are scheduled years in advance, along with changes in pasturage for the bison, and so on.

    I’m becoming more and more fond of the tangle of life I find even in the small places I visit. Your painting seems to e to capture it, beautifully.

  5. Thank you~I love it that you commented on the tangle of life. More polished artists use sweeps of color to suggest foliage but I can’t do it. The plants are too particular to me to dismiss with a brush of color.
    I haven’t heard the word “mot” to describe of gathering of oaks. I like that. Is it German, I wonder?
    Recently my daughter and I planned to go for a walk on one of our favorite trails but instead got a ringside seat for a big fire. We don’t often get a good view of them here but this time we could see the whole thing. It was exciting to see flames shoot up and to watch as ash flew over our head from quite some distance away. As I understand it, the BLM is adjusting their view of forest management, and more planned burning will be taking place in many states. I think this is hopeful, to prevent the massive, destructive fires that we currently have every summer.

  6. This is lovely, Melissa, and expresses well your love for the place. I agree with your dismay that the farmer destroyed the buildings to farm through…but at least he kept the land in farming which sadly is not always the case.

    One of the things I enjoy about your painting is the complexity that you allude to in your comment to Linda. I prefer the details, even if they are represented small in the larger landscape, over the hint of detail in patches of color. Artists who use that technique may be considered more “polished” but another artist who initially was not appreciated for the complexity in his work did this. πŸ™‚

  7. Beautiful piece, Melissa! I especially love the details of wildflowers in the foreground but the overall composition is very appealing and expresses your love for this area. Thank you for the description of the open oaks as well. It was lovely to picture them in my mind.

  8. There is invariably a story to your artwork Melissa and its usually one of empathy with the natural world. At the back of our home is a small wood which the local residents bought to protect from development. It is gradually being managed back to health, less overgrown and regularly coppiced. As far as I know nobody surveys the wildlife and I think if you do these projects there needs to be a ‘before and after’ census to demonstrate what we can do if we put our minds to it. The painting is gorgeous. I just love oaks :-))

    1. High praise, Andrew. Thank you very much.
      I’m delighted to learn of the small wood behind your property. I imagine the survey you yourself are conducting would be contributing to the knowledge bank for the ecosystem. You are right that this work is very important for how else can we know we are doing the right things?

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