The Prairie Club + Redefined


Thomas Arlowe; Carolyn Borcherding; Kelly Borgmann; Susannah Dragash; Jake Felton; Sarah Fischer; Chloe Franklin; Zachery Kassner; Michael Organ; Scott Poisel; Maria Wainscott, Student ASLA; Amy Yorko | Undergraduate | Faculty Advisor: Christopher Baas | Ball State University | Muncie, IN


Twelve students representing seven university departments celebrated the Prairie Club’s accomplishments through film, animation, art, and children’s books. The team created eleven film and animation shorts describing the natural and cultural landscapes of the dunes, artwork that advertised each short, and two children’s books. The collaborative project broadcasts the art, science, and conservation tenets of landscape architecture.


The Prairie Club + Redefined

In the early decades of the twentieth century a group of Chicago professionals united to hike, climb, and play in the natural landscapes surrounding their city. Regionalist landscape architect and member Jens Jensen named them the Prairie Club after the vast native grasslands that stretched across America’s upper Midwest. The club’s favorite place to visit was the Indiana sand dunes on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. This dramatically picturesque landscape provided escape from Chicago and its sprawling, industrial satellites.

Throughout the spring semester of 2014, twelve students celebrated the club’s accomplishments through film, animation, art, and children’s books. The students were participating in a project sponsored by a university “center” that supports immersive and collaborative learning. The center sponsors an interdisciplinary team of students, a faculty mentor, a partner from outside the university, and the creation of a product. Participation in the center promotes collaboration between students that, due to the traditional division of academic curriculums, do not have opportunities to interact. The students participating in this project represent seven university departments: Landscape Architecture, Planning, Art, Biology, History, Music, and Telecommunications. The faculty mentor is a landscape architect. They partnered with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the Indiana Dunes State Park. The team created eleven film and animation shorts describing the natural and cultural landscapes of the dunes, artwork that advertised each short, and two children’s books. The film shorts will be hosted by the state park’s web site.

The purpose of the project was to interpret and communicate the Prairie Club’s efforts to conserve the Indiana dunes by using a variety of media (film, animation, art, books), and inspire the public to conserve significant landscapes. Film and animation will be hosted on the state park’s website. Artwork advertising the shorts will be located throughout the state park. The children’s books are written at the fourth grade reading levels, the grade level Hoosier school children are taught Indiana history.

List of Film, Animation, and Artwork

1. Title: Prairie Club: Grassroots of Landscape Conservation Media: Documentary film, music

2. Title: South Shore Media: Film, music

3. Title: Frank Dudley & The Art of the Dunes Media: Film, original artwork, music

4. Title: Dunes Country is Steel Country Media: Documentary film, music

5. Title: Ecology and Succession Media: Animation, music

6. Title: The Wildlife of the Dunes Media: Film, music

7. Title: Birds at the Dunes Media: Film, music

8. Title: The Three Dunes Challenge Media: Film, music

9. Title: The Dunes Under Four Flags Pageant Media: Film, music

10. Title: “Duna, The Spirit of the Dunes” Masquerade Media: Film, animation, music

11. Title: The Prairie Club + Redefined Media: Film, music

Children’s Book

1. Prairie Club Diary: 1919 the Diary of Mildred Fuller

2. The Prairie Club: Grassroots Conservation of the Indiana Dunes

The students showcased the project on campus as well as at the Indiana Dunes State Park. The Westchester Township History Museum, home of the Prairie Club Archives, will exhibit the works in the autumn of 2014.

"Creative and interesting way of illustrating the ideas. Intriguing. It understands its cultural position as a type of communication and is powerful in its moment. It harkens back to CCC era and National Park Service posters. Really touches your heart in a way that modern graphics can’t."

- 2014 Awards Jury



Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Indiana Dunes state Park
Westchester Township History Museum