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Build Your Own Prairie

A woman standing in a garden with her arms out

Ellen Starr takes a break in the People’s Garden, a successful community pollinator garden in Princeton, Illinois on National Prairie Day 2021.

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and partners will provide prairie planting information to gardeners during two virtual panel discussions in January and February. The audience can learn how to plant a patch of prairie of their own. Prairie habitat is essential to pollinators and critical to our survival. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that one-third of the food we eat depends on pollinators. Monarch butterflies, grassland birds and more are part of a worldwide ecosystem. In our area, the natural habitat is prairie. The long roots of prairie plants help the environment by absorbing carbon, and less than a fraction of one percent remains. Backyards, window boxes or a community garden can help sustaining the environment by planting prairie plants.
“Plant A Patch of Prairie at Home,” on National Seed Swap Day, from 9 to 9:40 a.m. January 29, signals the start of charting the 2022 prairie planting season. We will swap prairie planting information and ideas. Pour a cup of tea and participate in the discussion.
Panelists include Janine Catchpole, past state president, Illinois Native Plant Society and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie volunteer; Jennifer Durkin, USDA FS horticulturist/native plant specialist, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie; Michelle Pearion, USDA FS Botanist, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie; and Ellen Starr, organizer of the People’s Garden, a successful community pollinator garden in Princeton, Illinois, and retired USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service area biologist.
“Plant A Patch of Prairie at Home: Wetlands,” on World Wetlands Day/Groundhog Day, from 6 to 6:40 p.m., February 2, will address rain gardens, pond plants and spots that don’t seem to get dry enough. This program will help you think about alternatives that will work well in your yard.
Panelists include Anna Braum, an ecologist with the Wetlands Initiative, and Starr.
To register, call 815-423-6370 or e-mail: [email protected].