Hidden Clues in the Poisoned Prairie
In Hidden Clues in the Poisoned Prairie, Sandy, Bobbi and Lizbet spend the summer volunteering at a Nature & Wetlands Restoration Project located on a working farm, downstream along the Illinois River.
They become immersed in the migration and mating patterns of local birds, fish and small mammals in the region. The girls are also excited to learn about Native American lore and ancient conservation practices from the local shaman, Sam Glidingcrane, a Peoria Algonquin whose people have protected the land for generations.
When Bobbi gets sick with burn-like rashes after rescuing an injured sandhill crane from an illegal trap on the property, Sandy, Lizbet and Sam's 10-year-old son Ben follow clues that lead them to several sick and dying small animals and birds - and an empty cannister. Is it DDT? If so, who is responsible? A trip back in time to visit ecologist Rachel Carson and her protégé Theodora Colborn suggest a corporate culprit.
The young trio, accompanied by Ben and his father, follow clues that lead them to the large Norris Farm that abuts Glidingcrane property. Was the poisoning of their wetlands done by a sole bad actor? Or was a more sinister plan at work? And how can they reverse the damage?
A second journey to the past, courtesy of Red and their magic pony cart, provides the young sleuths with new tools. They gain a deeper appreciation of the richness of the prairie, wetlands and wildlife cultivated by the Algonquin nation for millennia long before white settlers arrived on the scene. They bring back ancient native remedies that reverse the damage done to the Nature & Wetlands Project.