Friends of Nachusa Grasslands PrairiE-Update
Blog Posts - December 2018 to February 2019
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During the past few months, Friends of Nachusa Grasslands bloggers have shared a variety of restoration experiences and insights. The Nachusa Grasslands Blog  ( had five posts written by guest authors, Elizabeth Bach, Kaleb Baker, Jeff Cologna, and Joy McKinney, along with regular contributors, Dee Hudson and Charles Larry. Our editor is James Higby. This second email corrects the link to the World Soil Day and Amur Honeysuckle study posts.
Learn more about life at Nachusa from our bloggers. See excerpts from each post or click the titles to read the complete articles.

Celebrating World Soil Day at Nachusa

December 5 is World Soil Day, a time to recognize the vital role soils play in our ecosystems and health: growing food, filtering water, recycling air, mitigating climate change, and supporting more than 25% of all biodiversity!

Soil is the foundation of prairie restoration at Nachusa Grasslands, the starting point of a prairie planting. There are many questions about how soils impact prairie restoration success and how prairie restoration affects soils.

Today, we highlight a few of the soil-focused scientific studies that have been conducted at Nachusa Grasslands.

By Dr. Elizabeth Bach
Nachusa Grasslands Ecosystem Restoration Scientist
December 2018

Volunteers Breathe New Life Back Into The Land

Take a good look at the image above. The two volunteer stewards can barely walk through this dense thicket of invasive bushes. The sheer number of invasives that reside here have crowded out most other species, and as a result, have limited the possible diversity. In addition, when leafed out during the summer time, the bushes block the sunlight from reaching the ground and therefore discourage native species from growth. 

As Orland Prairie’s land steward, Mike Carr led the December 8 Saturday workday into this gnarly section in the attempt to eradicate the invasive brush. At the end of the day, each volunteer stewardship hour was carefully logged, because Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has approved this particular habitat as a grant project. When 400 volunteer hours of habitat care have been recorded, Illinois Clean Energy will present $4,000 to Friends of Nachusa Grasslands.

By Dee Hudson
Nachusa Grasslands Volunteer Steward
December 2018

Nachusa 2018:  The Year In Photos

Revisit the preserve's seasons through stunning images with enticing captions:
  • Red Trillium (Trillium recurvatum)
  • Lupines (Lupinus perennis)
  • Shooting Stars and Spring Landscape
  • Badger Cub
  • Those Summer Skies!
  • Flight of the Bumblebee
  • The Glorious Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)
  • The Male Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) Vigorously Sings for His Mate
  • That's Tasty!
  • Browns and Yellows of Autumn
  • Morning Sentinel
  • Autumn Wetlands
  • Seasonal Mosaic
  • The Visitor Center
  • Into Stone Barn Savanna
  • Prairie Wonderland
By Charles Larry and Dee Hudson
Nachusa Grasslands Volunteer Stewards
December 2018

A Study on Controlling Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)

Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) is an invasive shrub that flourishes along forest edges and in open woodlands such as those at Nachusa Grasslands. Amur honeysuckle shades out native flora with its early leaf-out and prolonged leaf retention, and when left uncontrolled, can produce a near monoculture, threatening biodiversity.

Land stewards everywhere have implemented a variety of different eradication methods, including hand pulling, cut-and-treat with herbicide, foliar-applied herbicide from backpacks or helicopters, basal bark herbicide treatments, and prescribed fire. Continuous treatments and monitoring are needed to eradicate Amur honeysuckle, making the cost, effort, and time requirements of controls important.

Knowing the efforts we go through to manage honeysuckle, as well as the amount of conjecture surrounding the best practices, I worked with my advisor Dr. Nick Barber to study how effective basal bark treatments and prescribed fire are at controlling honeysuckle.

By Kaleb Baker
NIU Master's Degree Candidate
Friends of Nachusa Grasslands Scientific Research Grant Recipient
February 2019
A Big Jump Into Restoration

Each steward at Nachusa Grasslands has a fascinating personal tale, often involving stories of sacrifice, setbacks, and success. Together, with the resources of The Nature Conservancy, volunteers, donors, and Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, stewards work hard to ensure Illinois prairie is not merely a fading memory, but a lasting reality for all future generations. Mike Carr, one of these amazing stewards, shared a few stories from the past with us. The following paragraphs highlight those early days. ​

By Joy McKinney and Jeff Cologna
Nachusa Grasslands Volunteer Stewards
February 2019
See the Blog Archive for additional entries.

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 Prairi-E Update newsletter.

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

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