Week of February 19, 2012
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We stayed in Detroit ALL WEEKEND waiting to hear back from Louie. During the weekend we did learn a lot about the Great Plains . As we mentioned before, they stretch throughout ten states. The main landform of the Great Plains are prairies . Prairies are typically large, flat, rolling areas with grassland that is mainly treeless. This region stretches about 500 miles (or 800 kilometers) east to west. It also stretches an entire 2,000 miles (or 3,200 kilometers) from the north to the south. Holy Idaho! That is one enormous area! The prairies have a large amount of wildlife found in an undisturbed setting. Humans have converted some of the land into pastures and for other agricultural purposes. Do you know what agriculture is? The Great Plains and prairies sometime experience extended periods of drought . There are also extremely high winds in the region that have even caused huge dust storms . A dust storm is a windstorm that lifts up and blows around dust, sand, and even clouds. Holy Idaho! Can you imagine experiencing a storm of dust?
We know that Louie is in one of three states (Nebraska, Montana, or South Dakota). But we aren’t sure exactly where, and that is a lot of land to explore! We FINALLY got a text message from Louie with map coordinates . It didn’t say much else at all:
Take a look at the map below (the BEST map we could find) and try to figure out which state we need to fly to next! If you need some help understanding the difference between latitude and longitude revisit this post from earlier in our mission. Remember Louie has to be in Nebraska, Montana, or South Dakota.
Map of the USA with map coordinates
Thank you to all of the geographical geniuses who helped us figure out where to go next. We are heading to Montana. In fact, we are going to the Great Plains Regional headquarters in Billings, Montana. Billings is actually the largest city in Montana, located in the south-central area of the state. Billings is the county seat of Yellowstone County. Billings is very close to Yellowstone National Park. I would love to have the opportunity to visit the park, but we need to stay focused on Louie right now. The city’s great location (near the area where the Battle of Little Bighorn was fought, Yellowstone National Park, and Pompey’s Pillar) draws many visitors, especially during the warmer months of the summer. Billings started out as a railroad town in 1882 (named after Frederick H. Billings). He was the president of Northern Pacific Railroad. Why do you suppose the railroad was important in 1882—important enough to build a town around it?
During our flight we learned an interesting fact. Did you know that the Great Plains are a large contributor to the wind power in the United States? Some cities in the Great Plains have used wind power to bring jobs to local residents, increase the town’s declining population, make significant income, and create a clean and reusable form of energy. Why is the Great Plains a good place for this kind of energy?
We have been in Montana since yesterday. No new text messages, emails, or phone calls yet. We are at the exact coordinates that Louie provided. Do you think he has completed his research here and moved on to his vacation home in the “chain of islands?” What should we do next?
Tell Geo and Meri what to do:
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