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Politico Magazine, September 11, 2016
How "Little House on the Prairie" Built Modern Conservatism  - Ingalls sisters photo owned by LIWHA

For 84 years, American kids have been growing up with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s inspiring Little House books, reading brave tales of survival on the prairies in the 19th century. The saga tells of a pioneer girl’s itinerant childhood traveling in covered wagons and starting new farms across the prairies—from Wisconsin to American Indian lands, Minnesota and Dakota Territory. She courageously helps her family fight fires, blizzards and drought; she helps bring in the cows, dress a blackbird for supper and twist hay for the cookstove. Both in the books and the popular TV show...

Connecticut Woodlands, spring 2016
The Disappeared Sandplains: 95 percent of them are gone - WOODSIDE_closeup sand and rr tracks

I trudge along a barren, sandy field, following a bespectacled, gray-bearded ecologist named Bill Moorhead. He steps carefully in his work boots over dead patches of grass and green-grey lichen. He leans down suddenly, plucks a dead plant out of the sand, and holds it against the worn-green canvas of his work coat. I peer at the dead, orange-tinged seeded tops of St. John’s wort (Hypericum gentianoides).

He holds the wispy dry leftovers of a grass (Aristida tuberculosa) that survives on these sandy soils because of its three wing-like seeds, or “awns.” These catch...

Appalachia journal, Winter Spring 2016
Back on the Ramsey Trail: The Boys Are There - with the boys

I first climbed the Ramsey Trail in central New Hampshire with my three big brothers—Bob, Steve, and John—in the mid-1960s, when my family vacationed at a camp on Squam Lake. I followed the boys up this trail that took the direct route up the small but formidable 1,260-foot rock face of Rattlesnake Mountain. The boys could reach the top in fifteen minutes going on the Ramsey, and I tried to go as fast as they did but never succeeded.

Last June, I stepped back onto the trail that the reckless Ramsey of long ago had blazed. Now I hesitated. The...

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