Only a few hundred years ago, much of North America was covered by grasses reaching up to 10 feet tall, while wildflowers, lichens, liverworts and other plant life flourished below. Tens of millions of bison grazed the land, wildfires maintained balance between native grasses and encroaching woody plants and trees, and grassland birds soared above. Native prairie grasslands which are comprised of a mix of tall-grass, mixed-grass, and short-grass prairie, stretched hundreds of millions of acres from Alberta to Manitoba.
Hannah Whitlaw is the Winnipeg Engagement Coordinator for the Prairie Chapter of the SCCF. Growing up alongside the expansive prairies of Manitoba, they spent much of their childhood reveling in both the quiet of the outdoors and the sounds of the city, collecting stones and feathers along the way. Hannah later left the prairies to pursue a degree in environmental studies and urban systems at McGill University in Montreal, where their research focused on food sovereignty, agrarian reform, and ecology-centred design. She is passionate about transforming cities into communities where biodiversity, connection, and compassion can flourish in place of monoculture and homogeneity. They are frequently found watching birds by the river, biking around with a book, building pottery, and swimming in the lake upon any given opportunity.