Six guests joined 20 members for this month’s program, held in Illinois.
Prairie volunteer stewards Nan and Neil Adams hosted a tour of Heartland Prairie located northeast of Alton, Illinois. The Heartland Prairie is a 27-acre reconstructed tallgrass prairie on the north side of Gordon Moore Park. It was planted in 1977 by Sierra Club members and is managed by The Nature Institute. The land is owned by the City of Alton.
Bill Long was our tour guide. Nan Adams reports that Bill is “a self-trained naturalist who took an interest in the prairie about 15 years ago. Bill leads twice-monthly tours, and guides volunteer stewards in caring for the plants in the front area of the prairie. He is leading the way on experimenting with mulch and sand gardens.”
The prairie is made up of more than 150 native prairie plant species that host a large variety of grassland-dependent birds. 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.
Following the tour, the group enjoyed a brown bag lunch with drinks and dessert provided by our Illinois hosts. After lunch, a brainstorming session was held to discuss the possibility of establishing a new Wild Ones Illinois chapter in the Metro East area. Jerry Young is spearheading the effort. Ideas included: select a location and date in February to host a planning meeting; with enough lead time, advertise at The Nature Institute, Watershed Nature Center in Edwardsville, SIU Edwardsville, with the Master Gardener Program at SIU Edwardsville and with the local Sierra Club. Membership Chair Betty Struckhoff will send our Illinois members’ email addresses to Dorothy Young to use as the start of an email list.
This month is the 15th anniversary of the St. Louis Chapter Wild Ones. The chapter was chartered on October 18, 1998, founded by Scott Woodbury of Shaw Nature Reserve.
Ideas for next year’s meetings may be directed to Ed Schmidt.
Next meeting: November 6, 6 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, Kirkwood
Annual potluck dinner and seed exchange. Bring a food dish and seeds to share if you have them.
Recorded by: Fran Glass, Secretary