Friends of Nachusa Grasslands PrairiE-Update
Blog Posts – August to
December 2019
View this email in your browser
During the past few months, Friends of Nachusa Grasslands bloggers have shared a variety of restoration experiences and insights. The Nachusa Grasslands Blog had posts written by five authors: Jason Willand, Cody Considine, Jessica  Fliginger, Charles Larry, and Riley Nylin. Our blog coordinator is Dee Hudson, and our editor is James Higby.
Learn more about life at Nachusa from our bloggers. See excerpts from each post or click the titles to read the complete articles.
Resource Availability and Bison Reintroduction

I was able to conduct a small research project at Nachusa as I was wrapping up my dissertation in July 2014. The research project was the result of brainstorming between my dissertation advisor Sara Baer and myself.

With the imminent introduction of bison on the preserve in October 2014, we wanted to develop a potential long-term monitoring project. We decided that an interesting study would be to examine the resource availability of the remnant and restored prairies before the bison were introduced.

The findings of this study suggest that bison may prefer the youngest restored prairies because there is simply more plant biomass available and little difference in the forage quality from the other prairie types.

By Jason Willand, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology, Missouri Southern State University
August 2019
Nachusa Smammals: It Takes a Village

In 2013, Dr. Holly Jones started conducting a long-term resea
rch project at Nachusa Grasslands on quantifying the effects of disturbance-related management strategies on small mammal populations at restored and remnant prairie sites. The reintroduction of bison in 2014 allowed for a powerful before and after bison impact study that documented the effects of bison grazing on the small mammal communities.

Data collected on species responses to bison, prescribed fire frequency, restoration age, and vegetation composition will inform decisions regarding abundance and biodiversity for small mammals. Small mammals play important roles in the food web by influencing vegetation structure through herbivory and seed predation, as well as serving as prey for predator species. So far, plant communities with bison grazing are becoming more diverse and more abundant with small mammals.

By Jessica Fliginger
Nachusa Grasslands Mammal Researcher
September 2019
“Budding Ecologists” — Nachusa’s Role in Mentoring the Next Generation of Natural Areas Managers

Please join us in saluting Nathaniel Weickert, who recently left to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Kansas. Over the last two and a half field seasons, Nathaniel had many roles, from his first position as a Restoration Technician to his most recent position as our first McCormick Resident Fellow.

Please join us to congratulate and welcome Amanda Contreras as the new Nachusa Grasslands’ McCormick Resident Fellow. By the end of her residency (December 2020), Amanda will have the skillsets, confidence, and humility to be a natural areas manager.

Finally, please join us to congratulate Tyler Pellegrini for his new promotion as the Assistant Crew Leader. A rising star within the field, he recently accepted a full-time position as the new Restoration Ecologist for the Natural Land Institute.

Bill and I, along with Elizabeth and Dee, would agree that one of the most gratifying experiences in managing natural areas is helping grow the next generation of natural areas managers. We are immensely grateful for all of our young professionals who choose to start their careers at Nachusa.

By Cody Considine
Nachusa Grasslands Deputy Director
June 2019
Completing Clear Creek Knolls

On November 18, 2019. Riley Nylin, Tyler Pellegrini, and Amanda Contreras completed the 2019 crew planting on the corner of East Flagg Road and South Carthage Road. This 63-acre planting finishes off the Clear Creek Knolls management unit.

Over the course of the season, our crew hand-picked 2,930 pounds of seed. Because of the extremely wet conditions of the picking season, we were forced to focus heavily on diversity instead of attempting to collect large amounts of seed.

Once the seed was collected, separated, and mixed, the crew took to the field to plant! By planting 184 species at 50 pounds per acre, they planted a total of 85 acres of new prairie as well as over-seeding a few portions of past plantings.

While 63 of the acres were planted at the Flagg and Carthage planting, the other 22 acres were planted at Franklin Creek Natural Area (FCNA). The FCNA planting was in partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

By Riley Nylin
​Nachusa Grasslands Restoration Technician
December 2019
To Everything There Is a Season

After a prescribed burn, see one Nachusa landscape cycle through an entire year — every photo was taken from the same spot at the preserve.

By Charles Larry assisted by Bill Kleiman
Nachusa Grasslands Volunteer / Nachusa Grasslands Project Director
October 2019

As our website host does not provide a way to subscribe to the blog, we will periodically send you links to new posts via this PrairiE-Update newsletter.

Go to the Blog Archive for additional entries.

See the blog posts for photo copyright information.
Copyright © 2019 Friends of Nachusa Grasslands, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list
update subscription preferences
Our mailing address is:
Friends of Nachusa Grasslands
8772 S. Lowden Road
Franklin Grove, IL 61031

Add us to your address book

Prairi-E Update Archive

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp