A young child runs through the vast Nebraska prairie. Her fingers graze the grass gently, curiously. The prairie is her playground, as she dances wildly in Denton. Here, local conservation groups restore native prairie grass through a project called the Haines Branch Prairie Corridor.
The $4.8 million project will connect existing prairie in the Haines Branch tributary of Salt Creek to the Pioneers Park Nature Center, spanning the Conestoga Lake State Recreation Area to the Village of Denton and the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center. Restoring native prairie creates habitat for a diversity of species and opportunities for people of all ages to experience Nebraska’s grassland by integrating a 13-mile trail network throughout the corridor.
Filmed in Denton, this video gives a glimpse of the wide open prairie, allowing viewers to imagine themselves there, exploring the land beneath their feet.
The sense of vastness in Nebraska’s prairie inspired renowned Great Plains writer Willa Cather, and these observations often translated to her poetry. Below is a transcription of her poem, “Prairie Spring,” featured in the video:
Evening and the flat land,
Rich and somber and always silent;
The miles of fresh-plowed soil,
Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness;
The growing wheat, the growing weeds,
The toiling horses, the tired men;
The long empty roads,
Sullen fires of sunset, fading,
The eternal, unresponsive sky.
Against all this, Youth,
Flaming like the wild roses,
Singing like the larks over the plowed fields,
Flashing like a star out of the twilight;
Youth with its insupportable sweetness,
Its fierce necessity,
Its sharp desire,
Singing and singing,
Out of the lips of silence,
Out of the earthy dusk.