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Prairie Chickens Reunite a Nebraska Ranch Family – May 10, 2017

Bird-watching tours help preserve vital habitat while supplementing family income

Life in the Nebraska Sandhills offers a remoteness not often found in the Lower 48. For Sandhill ranchers, the closest traffic signal can be 50 miles away. Their first-grader may ride the bus ninety minutes to school — one way. Six or eight-player football is common because there are more cows than kids, and getting groceries can take a full day.

But for Sarah Sortum (nee Switzer) the Sandhill prairies are home. And after graduating from university and starting a family in northern Colorado, by 2006 she wanted to move back to the family cattle ranch. Sortum wanted her kids to share her connection to the land.

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by: Carol Patterson

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This Land Was Built for Bison – February 13, 2017

A former rancher uses his experience in low-stress cattle handling to manage bison herds in Canada’s Grasslands National Park

Back when Don Gillespie’s mother, Norah, was growing up on the family ranch in the mixed-grass prairie of southwestern Saskatchewan in west-central Canada there were few roads and fewer vehicles. Ranch work was done with horses and fence pastures were scarce. These prairies once held tens of thousands of bison but after European contact the bison were hunted to near extinction and cattle took over as the large grazer in the ecosystem.

photo of grasslands national parkPhoto by Marshal Drummond Grasslands National Park is one of Canada's best bison habitat. Since being reintroduced in 2005 after more than 100 years of absence, the… more

by: Carol Patterson

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