Event—Public Programming

Firelines: Midwestern Prairie Restoration


Jill Metcoff and Mike Mossman will discuss their shared fascination with the Midwestern prairie and the use of intentional fires in maintaining the Midwestern landscape and ecosystem. Bringing together photography, conservation biology, ecology, and personal history, their interdisciplinary work celebrates the union of visual art and scientific method.

Jill Metcoff is an analogue, black-and-white photographer who has spent her career documenting land use, natural habitats, rural communities, and regional histories. Her latest book, Firelines, presents 89 stunning black and white photographs of intentional fire in the Midwestern landscape. As she presents her photographs, she will describe her 15 years embedded with controlled burn crews, and how that experience sustained her own stewardship of a six-acre prairie.

Mike Mossman is a conservation biologist, ecologist, and historian. For the past 40 years, he has focused particularly on the Midwestern prairie, including the pre-European landscape, the social and economic factors influencing land use and management, and the wildlife—especially birds—associated with it. Since much of the Midwest is a fire-dependent landscape, his studies weave together the use of fire in this ecosystem.

This event is part of our programming related to our What Is the Midwest? project, funded by a major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.