The University of Wisconsin Press

Environment / Natural History / Wisconsin


Prairie Time
The Leopold Reserve Revisited
John Ross and Beth Ross

A North Coast Book

An exploration of time and place in nature

In the rush of modern life, we measure our lives by the clock, the calendar, the timetable. But there are older rhythms in nature: the call of chickadees before the first hint of spring, the golden face of a compass plant in July, the first snowfall. These signs mark the passage of time in a world that Aldo Leopold knew well and eloquently described.

With notebook and camera in hand, John and Beth Ross revisit the Aldo Leopold Memorial Reserve in south-central Wisconsin fifty years after Leopold's death. Thanks to the efforts of Leopold, his family, and the Leopold Foundation, this once-ruined farmland is now largely restored to a natural state. The Rosses explore the terrain of this sandy land, encounter its natural citizens, and relate life here to its physical underpinnings. Following Leopold's own practice of phenology, they note the seasonal changes: arrivals and departures of wild geese, the blossoming of the pasque flower at the edge of melting snow, the appearance of monarch butterflies on the milkweed. And further, they seek to find in this landscape an underlying morality, a communion of understanding, a sense of place in the cosmos.

Beautifully illustrated with color photographs, the book also includes notes on the behavior, habitat, and human interactions with ninety-four species of plants, birds, and other animals found in the reserve. An extensive glossary explains terms from geology, ecology, meteorology, and related life and earth sciences.

"Prairie Time is about relationships—among prairie and woodland, climate and weather, moraine and outwash, annual cycles and the chronology of natural events—and the human relation to the land."—Nina Leopold Bradley

John E. Ross is professor emeritus in agricultural journalism and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Beth Ross is a writer and photographer.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

The University of Wisconsin Press publishes several books about Aldo Leopold and many related titles on environmental topics. Use our search feature to find other books of interest.

Here are some of the key titles:

The Essential Aldo Leopold
Quotations and Commentaries
Edited by Curt D. Meine and Richard L. Knight

The River of the Mother of God
And Other Essays by
Aldo Leopold
Edited by Susan Flader and J. Baird Callicott

Aldo Leopold

His Life and Work
Curt Meine

Game Management
Aldo Leopold
With a new Foreword by Laurence R. Jahn

Thinking Like A Mountain
Aldo Leopold and the Evolution of an Ecological Attitude toward Deer, Wolves, and Forests
Susan L. Flader

cover of Prairie Time is an autumn photo of a shoreline in Wisconsin

August 1998
256 pp.   7 x 10   44 color illus.

Book icon
Cloth $34.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-15660-2
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout

Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated 3/27/2014

© 2010, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System