Brown butterfly sitting on a yellow flower in a prairie meadow.
Common buckeye butterfly at a Piedmont prairie in McDowell Nature Preserve, Charlotte, NC. Video still courtesy of Piedmont Prairie Partnership.

I’ve always been a sucker for the Piedmont. It’s constantly overlooked in favor of the mountains and the coast. It’s an underdog with a really interesting and poorly understood ecological history.

The fact that most people don’t know what the Piedmont used to look like is limiting conservation action in the Blueprint and is a barrier to achieving the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy goal. The first report on progress toward the SECAS goal showed that one of the biggest places we were off-track is in grasslands outside of the longleaf range. Most people think that uplands in the Piedmont are supposed to be the thick forests we see today. They don’t realize that before European arrival, Piedmont uplands were mostly grasslands, some mixed with trees and some without, that were maintained by regular fire and grazing by bison and elk.

As part of the Piedmont Prairie Partnership, I’ve been working on some short videos to help tell the story of prairies in the Piedmont and the work that’s underway to bring them back. Those videos are now ready to share.

5-min version

Full version (11 min)