Climate change has caused increased heat, drought, and insect outbreaks. In turn, these changes have made wildfires more numerous and severe. The warming climate has also caused a decline in water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, and triggered heat-related health impacts in cities.
I work in a very urban school setting. Most of my students do not know about the land or even what part agriculture plays in their lives. The goal of my project was to show students the importance of maintaining our rangelands through proper management. We looked at the history of prairie fires and their importance in maintaining a healthy rangeland by decreasing invasive species and increasing biodiversity. The focus was on using the RAP (rangeland analysis program) to evaluate the woody encroachment in areas around the lower 48 states. Students were able to use the program to compare today’s rangelands with images of the rangelands from the past. Students were able to communicate the importance of using prescribed burns and grazing to help control woody encroachment.