Audubon Dakota partnered with Governor Kristi Noem to proclaim June 4th, 2022 as Prairie Day in South Dakota. South Dakota’s prairies provide critical habitat for grassland birds and pollinators, and are a cornerstone of South Dakota’s ranching industry. With nearly half of South Dakota’s land area in grasslands, prairies are a valuable resource for livestock producers and wildlife, including South Dakota’s state bird, the Ring-Necked Pheasant. “Ms. Noem’s proclamation elevates the prairies of South Dakota to recognize in an official capacity the immense importance of these ecosystems as not only bird and wildlife habitat, but as irreplaceable resources to indigenous peoples, ranchers, and the broader South Dakota community”, Sarah Hewitt, Director of Conservation.
South Dakota prairies contribute to environmental health by providing ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water infiltration, and soil stability. Restoring and enhancing prairies in South Dakota is essential to Audubon Dakota’s mission of protecting birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Successfully achieving this mission means collaborating with partners across the states to conserve the prairie through working lands and bird friendly initiatives.