Nature’s Past – Episode 24: Draining the Wet Prairie

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Nature’s Past Episode 24 – click to play | right click, ‘save as’ to download

wetprairieAgricultural expansion is a central component of the history of the resettlement of the Canadian prairies in the nineteenth-century. Popularly, that history has been characterized by the challenges of aridity on a dry prairie landscape. The characterization of the prairies as a dry place, however, is really only accurate for the highlands of south-western Manitoba to the foothills of southern Alberta. It does not accurately represent Manitoba’s southern lowlands.

This is the subject of a new book by environmental historian, Shannon Stunden BowerWet Prairie: People, Land, and Water in Agricultural Manitoba explores the history of this southern lowland region of Canada’s first prairie province. Combining methodologies in both environmental history and historical geography, Wet Prairie, takes readers through the complex past of the relationship between people and surface water in a region that is especially prone to flooding.

This month, we speak with Dr. Shannon Stunden Bower, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta.

Please be sure to take a moment and review this podcast on our iTunes page.

Works Cited:

Music Credits:

Other Contributor(s): 
  • Shannon Stunden Bower

Kheraj, Sean. “Episode 24: Draining the Wet Prairie” Nature’s Past. 20 September 2011

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Sean Kheraj is the director of the Network in Canadian History and Environment. He's an associate professor in the Department of History and associate dean of programs in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University. His research and teaching focuses on environmental and Canadian history. He is also the host and producer of Nature's Past, NiCHE's audio podcast series and he blogs at

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