Restoring our prairies

Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, is also known as The Prairie State. Much of it was once covered in this diverse mosaic of plant life. Plants common in this type of prairie include:

  • Big bluestem grass
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Milkweed
  • Rattlesnake master

Prairie environments are more than plants. They shape the soil and shelter a range of animal species. Our native plants have very deep roots that store water and nutrients, making them more resilient in times of drought.

Monarch Watch has certified the CLC campus as an official Monarch Waystation because of the abundance of prairie plants that provide nourishment and habitat to these vital pollinators.

Prairie benefits

At CLC: Learn conservation

A prairie supports wildlife, absorbs stormwater and provides a training ground for successful careers in conservation land management. CLC’s Horticulture program prepares students for jobs such as natural area manager, sustainable farm manager, landscape designer and arborist.

In Lake County: Prairie, savannas, ravines

Lake County Forest Preserves include prairie ecosystems intermixed with savannas, fens and ravine-sheltered upland forests. Explore nearby prairies in the system’s many preserves, including:

  • McDonald Woods
  • Prairie Wolf
  • Rollins Savanna
  • Spring Bluff
  • Fort Sheridan
  • Heron Creek

Consider volunteering with the Lake County Forest Preserves. Roles range from helping with the native seed nursery, located in the Rollins Savanna Preserve, to conservation support, education, and more.

Around the world: Hope for threatened grasslands

Globally, grasslands are the most endangered natural habitat, less conserved even than forests, according to the Society for Conservation Biology. However, the World Wildlife Fund reports that conservation and restoration are underway for some of the world’s great grasslands and savannas, from the Eastern Mongolian Steppe to the Pantanal in South America.