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Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Celebrates National Bison Month

3 pics fuzed together a bic of  2 birds  and a bison

Photo submitted by Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

It’s been five years since the National Bison Legacy Act established bison as America’s National Mammal in 2016. That same year, bison calves were born at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Special conservation education programs will take place throughout July, including a study of journalist Eliza Steele’s field notes recorded in a prairie near Chicago in 1840 at 6 p.m., July 7, with Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie archaeologist Joe Wheeler and botanist Michelle Pearion.

A bison web cam was installed in 2016 so that millions of people around the world could see bison. This year, a webinar program will provide live feeds from two historic buffalo jumps: First People’s Buffalo Jump, in Montana, and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site, in Alberta, Canada.

At Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie volunteers, partners and staff work to restore land where the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant was active during WWII back to natural habitat for grassland birds and migrating birds. The bison experiment is based on the different preferences in grass lengths of grassland birds for nesting, foraging for food and more. Through bird surveys, they are looking to see if bison grazing, wallowing and other natural tendencies is encouraging the return of native Illinois prairie species. The presence of bison seems to be making a difference: Red-tailed hawks, loggerhead shrikes and more have been seen through the bison web cam.

To register for a program, call 815-423-6370 or email: [email protected]. For more information, visit