Wild Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) and Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)
Located northeast of Alton, Illinois, Heartland Prairie is a 27-acre reconstructed tallgrass prairie on the north side of Gordon F. Moore Park (Google map). The prairie was planted in 1977 by Sierra Club members, and is managed by The Nature Institute and the City of Alton.
Boasting more than 150 native prairie plant species and harboring a large variety of grassland-dependent birds, Heartland gives visitors a glimpse into the past. As with other tracts of prairie, The Nature Institute uses prescribed fire and other land management techniques to keep invasive plants under control and to promote a healthy tallgrass prairie ecosystem.
If you need some new plants after the hot, dry summer, the Fall Wildflower Sale at Shaw Nature Reserve may be just what you’re looking for. It’s smaller than the spring sale and Wild Ones will not have a booth, but it’s a great resource for fall plantings.
At the University of Missouri-St. Louis our hostess was Jen Fruend of CHERP (Campus Honors Environmental Research Program). CHERP is an urban ecology honors college course studying natural ecosystems to restore wildness to the campus, local parks, and neighborhood. Jen is a CHERP Education and Ecology Instructor and doctoral student in Science Education with focus on plants. She teaches an integrative, sustainable, ecological studies class for non-science majors that fulfills a science credit.
Many local governments have ordinances to define acceptable land use. However, proponents of manicured lawns and native plant enthusiasts may have very different perspectives on what sort of yard is desirable. In the final video in the series, Joy Buslaff provides suggestions for effective policies.