JV’s Project Week – Dust Bowl and Erosion

JV has been exploring erosion in North America.  He became fascinated with the Dust Bowl and its place in history. In this election time, he has been quietly contemplating government involvement in society as a whole.  He found his answer in Roosevelt’s solution to the erosion problem.  All of that has paled however to static electricity and rabbit bashing.

The American Experience production is exceptional. Worth the time and energy.


The American Dust Bowl was a large area of land stretching from Texas to South Dakota.  During the Great Depression, the land was plowed and planted because of the thick top soil. Wheat was primary crop grown on the Great Plains and was doing well and people were making money. But that all changed when the drought came. When the farmers dug up all the grasses, that loosened the top soil and when it dried out, it blew away. People knew that there were dust storms the Great Plains but they did not know that the dust storms were getting bigger. In the 1930’s giant dust storms hit Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Nebraska and surrounding states were hit with their own. Some of the storms were so massive that they consumed entire communities and some would travel all the way to New York and deposit their dirt in the Atlantic Ocean. This made some of the people in the Dust Bowl move to California and other states on the West Coast. The main thing that killed the plants was the static electricity in the dust clouds.  Another crop killer was the jack rabbits that came from the hills for food.  The way the people dealt with them was that they would drive them into pens and beat them to death.  This was before Humane Society. Roosevelt responded by making a new soil conserving farming method. If the farmers did not want to adopt the new method of farming Roosevelt payed farmers $1 an acre to try it out. Despite the 65% drop in dust, people continued to move out to the West Coast.

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2 Comments

Filed under American History, Geography and World Studies, JV

2 responses to “JV’s Project Week – Dust Bowl and Erosion

  1. Check out the picture book The Buffalo Are Back by Jean Craighead George. I’m going to read it to my students in a few weeks, because it adds destruction of the animals and ecosystem into the dustbowl as well as the weather, etc. It’s an interesting idea worth exploring.

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