February 2010


Prairie Fire Newspaper went on hiatus after the publication of the September 2015 issue. It may return one of these days but until then we will continue to host all of our archived content for your reading pleasure. Many of the articles have held up well over the years. Please contact us if you have any questions, thoughts, or an interest in helping return Prairie Fire to production. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you to all our readers, contributors, and supporters - the quality of Prairie Fire was a reflection of how many people it touched (touches).

Too big to fail

Cartoon by Paul Fell

By David M. Walker

Once upon a time, it was believed that AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and even Arthur Andersen were too big to fail. However, all these firms have either gone out of business, filed for bankruptcy, been acquired by a rival or been “bailed out” by the federal government.

Volunteers become family at Rowe Sanctuary

By Alan J. Bartels

Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon hosts thousands of human visitors each spring, as well as hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes. The efforts of volunteers are crucial in Rowe’s continued ability to protect crane habitat and educate people about these magnificent birds. Though many of these volunteers initially came to Rowe to work on behalf of the birds, reuniting with the members of their tight-knit but far-flung crane family has become just as important to them.

Green gold

By Charles Yost

Seeing molten gold is a very special experience. It shimmers and dances much as you might expect the surface of the sun would. Gold is truly an amazing material. Humankind has used gold as the definition of wealth and status for thousands of years.

Bessey and smoking

Tobacco has long been attacked by reformers and medical authorities for the damage it does to human health. The contemporary push for a smoke-free environment in Nebraska has roots in the state’s past. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on Sept. 20, 1907, noted that the University of Nebraska prohibited smoking on campus and was reemphasizing that policy during student registration:


"Polking Around"
March 15, 1984

We won’t have space for a birding story this week. Friday’s snow and Saturday’s early morning zero reading had us wondering about the ducks and geese on the rainwater basins and we drove south, Saturday afternoon, to see how our friends had survived.

“Meditation” paintings come from Roush’s heart

By Mark L. Moseman

John Roush’s work has been acclaimed in museum exhibitions as well as national art publications. Having followed John’s work for over 10 years and participated in some of the same exhibitions, I know from firsthand experience that he’s a great agrarian artist. While John is a master of modern realism, it’s not his painting skill that sets his work apart. It’s that he’s interpreting subjects that other artists miss—subjects that are in his heart due to his agrarian experience.

Is it time for a Missouri River compact?

By John H. Davidson

Whether one chooses to blame it on global warming, climate variability or population growth, one thing seems certain—we are confronting an era of broad-based regional water shortages, particularly in and around the American West. Current patterns of water use and the vast infrastructure built to support them are based on climate patterns as we have experienced them, but climatologists now agree that future water patterns will not simply mimic the past. This is particularly true of the American West, which is getting drier while supporting an ever-increasing human population.

Snow geese on the Great Plains

By Paul A. Johnsgard

Walking down the hall of our university’s biology building on a winter day during the late 1990s, I overheard two young men recounting their recent activities. One was proudly telling the other that he and some friends had killed over 120 “sky carp” the previous Saturday. Initially I had no notion of what he was talking about, but it soon became apparent that he was talking about snow geese and that he had exploited newly relaxed regulations that permitted winter snow goose hunting with few limits on the number of birds that could be shot in a day. I could scarcely imagine why anybody could take pleasure in killing that many geese, much less brag about it. Since childhood, snow geese have been my symbol of unmatched beauty and grace in the natural world.

Immigration in Nebraska

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