"Iowa is the most 'altered' state in the nation. To a greater
degree than in any other state, the natural landscape no longer exists.
The forests have been felled, the prairies plowed, the streams straightened
and scoured and reduced to ditches, the wetlands drained and filled
and their wildlife forced out. Some alteration had to happen; the soils
of Iowa are simply too rich to leave in prairie when there's a world
Moines Register Editorial 8-30-98
A major housing developer is requesting permission from the Zoning Commission
to build a new subdivision in one of the few remaining prairie areas of
Zoning Commission has requested information on prairies and the impact
new subdivisions would have on the prairie ecosystem. The Commission has
requested that a group of community experts research the issue and prepare
a presentation to assist in making a decision.
Questions to Consider
- Why should people be concerned about housing subdivisions using prairie
- How can we find ways to meet our housing expansion needs without compromising
the prairies' ecosystem?
- What happened to the original prairies?
- How will housing construction affect wildlife habitats?
Review the following websites and background information on the preservation
of natural prairie lands as well as restoration efforts and techniques.
Tallgrass Prairie Remnants
Section - Native Prairie Management Guide
Take a virtual tour of a new
smart growth neighborhood. (requires Flash-enabled browser.)
Sprawl – The Big Picture
Earth-orbiting satellites have a wonderful view of our planet's fast-growing
cities, but most city planners don't have access to this "big picture"
from space. NASA-supported scientists are working to change that.
What to Do
Read the directions to help you understand
how your team will research and analyze information.
How to Begin
Review the checklist of project activities.
Evaluate your peers' projects on how well their conclusions are supported
by data and facts.
Was their argument convincing? What made you think so?
Prairie Problem is a real problem in the Loess
Hills of Western Iowa.
If you were on the Zoning Commission, how would you vote? Why?
Your project evaluation will assess how you support your conclusion,
the effectiveness of your selected method of sharing information, teamwork
and collaboration with your peers.
How you'll be graded