Rootstalk Volume II, Issue 2 (Spring 2016) has come together through the efforts of the students in Grinnell College’s third special-topics classes in online publishing, who worked diligently under the guidance of the course’s instructors and a group of the College’s alumni. These alums, who visited the classroom both electronically and in person, were carefully chosen for the relevant skills they brought to the project. They were fantastically generous with their time and advice as they guided the students (and their professors) in the labor and research that go into designing and sustaining a multimedia online journal from the ground up—one that matched our vision statement and mission statement.
Mission Statement: To provide a forum for scholarship, commentary, and creative expression in any discipline that will stimulate dialogue about significant issues in the prairie region of North America.
Vision Statement: We aspire to create an electronic, web-based journal that publishes multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary thought and opinion on any regional topic. We expect to serve not as an outlet for primary research, but rather as a venue where researchers discuss the societal implications of their research, and where writers and artists present their arguments, ideas, and aesthetic statements. We expect to publish recognized national and regional writers and artists as well as newcomers, including the most exemplary undergraduates.
Alumni Mentors: Liz Fathman, ‘85 Jule Meyer, ‘80 Jody Phillips, ‘74 Mark Schorr, ‘66 Dan Weeks, ‘80
Student Content Editors: Sarah Arena, ‘16 Benjamin Brosseau, ‘17 Jane Carlson, ‘17 Rita Clark, ‘18 Ivy Kuhn, ‘16 Deborah Msekela, ‘17 Kate Strain, ‘16 Emma Thomasch, ‘16 Kenneth Wee, ‘16
Online and Web-presence Editor: Ajuna Kyaruzi, ‘17
Faculty Editors: Jonathan Andelson Mark Baechtel
Volume II, Number 2 Supported by Grinnell College’s Center for Prairie Studies and a grant from the Donald L. Wilson Program in Enterprise and Leadership Rootstalk is committed to promoting open expression and is hosted on Grinnell College’s Digital Grinnell server.
In our ongoing effort to inspire an appreciation for and experience with the prairie region, we invite you to enjoy our third issue of Rootstalk. We’ve assembled a wide-ranging collection of thought-provoking pieces, covering subjects from barn quilts (“Barn Quilts in Poweshiek County’) to bird-song (“Birds of the Prairie”), from the experiences of a youth new to the prairie (“What I Learned at the White Horse Ranch”) to the lifetime of experience garnered by those who’ve spent their lives in intimate contact with the land (“We Lived There Ourselves for Forty-some Years”). From undocumented immigration to water safety, the stories in this issue give you multiple themes and destinations to visit; we hope you’ll visit them all.
All of the pieces in this issue—poetry, essays, short stories, videos and digital art—share similar roots. In bringing them together, we’ve striven to create a synergy of science and art, and to promote meaningful dialogue. It’s worth mentioning that the team of diligent editors who put this content together is every bit as diverse as the authors. These students come from around the world. They have diverse academic backgrounds and areas of interest, and have come together around Rootstalk’s central idea: that nurturing a sense of place—in our case, a prairie place—is vital in our busy lives. It isn’t every day or everywhere that you get to see differences blend together so seamlessly—and richly.