Rethinking the Dust Bowl
1830 - 1941
This environmental history research project, funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, explored the chronology and geography of wind erosion on the southern plains before the famous 1930s Dust Bowl. Led by Dr. Geoff Cunfer and employing several graduate students in the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of History, the project combed through explorers’ journals, military fort weather records, farmer diaries, small-town newspapers, and government reports for references to dust storms that happened during the century before 1930. Researchers located descriptions of over 600 dust storms in the region, most before any significant portion of the land had been plowed for crops.