Landmark is ASC's groundbreaking project to provide "boots on the ground" support for the American Prairie Reserve management team. Wildlife survey crews consist of skilled outdoors men and women who live and work on Montana's northern Great Plains, collecting data that informs APR's conservation management decisions.
The American Prairie Reserve may well be the gumbo capital of the world – gumbo mud that is. It pervades eastern Montana and has become part of daily life for our Landmark volunteers.
Often made of bentonite clay, this stuff turns slicker than goose poop after a rainstorm.
"Some Eastern Montanans use the term gumbo and bentonite interchangeably," according to the Billings Gazette. "But bentonite is a specific slick, sticky form of clay with its own unique chemical makeup... Bentonite comes from volcanic ash that dates back 100 million years or more. The ash settled in a vast inland sea and underwent specific chemical changes."
Teri Ness, of the June crew, recently sent in the following poems about life this season on the Reserve.
A Prairie Afternoon
Crouching in a coulee
rain pouring down
hail mingling in
water trickling under your gators
filling up your socks
splitting the sky
You should be afraid
even crouching you’re still tall
But each flash of light
and beat of thunder
courses through your veins
Making you feel alive
Gumbo = rain + clay + bentonite
Gumbo = 20 extra pounds on your feet
Gumbo = slipping and sliding and fright
Gumbo = no driving
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