Prairie Protector - Video Game

Game
Prairie Protector logo
Resource Summary
The Sandhills and other grasslands in the Great Plains are currently threatened by what is being called "the green glacier"-- a slow but steady encroachment of invasive tree species into ecosystems which have traditionally been dominated by grasses and wildflowers. These invasive species not only threaten the habitat of native wildlife but also threaten the livelihood of ranchers who depend on the vast grasslands to feed their livestock. In Prairie Protector, test your skills at defending the High Plains from this threat!
Middle School
High School
Classroom Instruction
After-School Instruction
At-Home Instruction
Life Sciences
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Engineering
Game
Systems Thinking
Informed Decision Making
Food

Introduction

Nebraska SandhillsThe Nebraska Sandhills represents one of the world's last remaining intact grasslands. Unlike much of Nebraska, this ecosystem is not good for growing rowcrops like corn or soybeans due to its sandy soils and limited rainfall. Instead, this ecosystem is largely used for ranching and is home to many species of wildlife.

The Sandhills and other grasslands in the Great Plains are currently threatened by what is being called "the green glacier"-- a slow but steady encroachment of invasive tree species into ecosystems which have traditionally been dominated by grasses and wildflowers. These invasive species not only threaten the habitat of native wildlife but also threaten the livelihood of ranchers who depend on the vast grasslands to feed their livestock.

Play

Ranchers and land managers have several tools available to them in the fight against woody encroachment including fire and mechanical removal of trees. But devising a land management strategy is no easy feat. Many factors must be considered including cost, time, and familiarity and comfort using the different tools.

Now it's your turn.

Play Prairie Protector. Choose a level and develop a strategy to combat woody encroachment using the available tools. 

Want a tougher challenge? Play a custom game with 1, 2, or 3 neighbors (played by the computer) to experience the difficulty of combating invasive species when your fate is tied to not only your own actions but also the actions of your neighbors.

If you run into any technical difficulties with the games, we would be happy to help. Please contact Deepak Keshwani at dkeshwani2@unl.edu with any questions or concerns.