Palouse prairie of eastern Washington and northwestern Idaho is an endangered landscape. It’s dominated by forbs—flowering plants—that cover the fields with a riot of color that attracts native pollinators.

The Phoenix Conservancy is among the groups restoring Palouse prairie. Led by Chris Duke, a doctoral graduate in biology from Washington State University, the organization works to bring native plants back to endangered landscapes from Madagascar to the Great Plains of North America to the Palouse hills.

In this episode, Washington State Magazine editor Larry Clark takes a field trip with Duke to the apartment complexes on the edge of Pullman, Washington, where a half-acre hillside shows how Palouse prairie can thrive even on a small, urban piece of land. They call it a pocket prairie.

As sounds from construction of new buildings surround the area, Duke shows off the blue asters, purple lupine, and myriad other native plants as butterflies and pollinating beetles move from flower to flower. It is a sign of hope and the resilience of native species in the region.



Read more in “Rooting for the prairie” in the Fall 2023 issue of Washington State Magazine.



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