The wild hyacinth is now carpeting Wolf Road Prairie’s savanna floor with their blossoms, and when there is a breeze their perfume fills the air. Look also for white starry Solomon seal and pink wild geraniums. On the prairie, you will find little islands of yellow wood betony, as well as the delicate blue-eyed grass, which sometimes appears blue, but at other times is white tinged with blue, scattered throughout the prairie. Enjoy the stronger colors of the butter-scotch colored hoary puccoon, and the golden Alexanders. And for the observant, the white flowers of the wild strawberries are blooming close to the ground. (Photo by Barbara A. Schreiber)
Please join our dedicated volunteers to help remove invasive plants, such as buckthorn, at Wolf Road Prairie. Weather permitting, we have two more Saturday workdays scheduled for Fall on November 5 and November 14, between 9 a.m. and Noon at #9 Hickory Lane. Hickory Lane is west of the Prairie on the north side of 31st Street, just past the Cook County Forest Preserve Police Station. Just drive past the little bridge on Hickory Lane and turn right onto the first driveway. Even if the weather is exceptionally warm, it is better to wear long pants and sturdy shoes. Everyone welcome. Stay for an hour or the entire time. For more information call 708-354-5512. (Photo credit: Nate Fremont)
Please consider joining us on Sunday evenings from 4-6 pm to help out in our beautiful Franzosenbusch Prairie House garden, located at 11225 Constitution Drive in Westchester. Whether you have a green thumb or not, everyone is welcome to come and spend an enjoyable evening helping us to make our garden even more lovely. Whatever amount of time you can offer will be more than appreciated.
Save the Prairie Society will be hosting a Volunteer Orientation Day on Sunday, July 17, at 3 pm on the porch of the Prairie House, located at 11225 Constitution Drive in Westchester. If you are interested in volunteering to help preserve Wolf Road Prairie, or in working with the Franzosenbusch Heritage Project, please consider attending this event. For more informataion call 708-354-5512.
Help earn money for the Prairie House by shopping at Vern Goer’s Greenhouse. From May 2 through May 31, Save the Prairie Society and the Franzosenbusch Heritage Project will earn 10% of all purchases made. Just click on the following link, Vern goers, to obtain your coupon and receive further details. We appreciate your support!
Save the Prairie Society hosted a group of 10 urban ecologists from Ukraine at Wolf Road Prairie on February 18, 2002. The purpose of the group’s visit was to learn about volunteer restoration efforts and then translate and adapt these ideas and projects into viable programs in their homeland.
We exchanged gifts. Save the Prairie Society presented the delegation with a copy of a STPS videograph on management issues at Wolf Road Prairie featuring Steve Packard, National Audubon Society. Volodymyr I. Prudky, (below) Senior Ecologic Inspector, Head of State Ecologic Control of Biological Resources, contributed a book he authored to the Prairie House Resource Library. In it are photographs he took of plants and landscapes in the Ukraine.
The steppes of Ukraine are blessed with fertile soil, similar to the American prairies. There was much information and common interest to be shared with members of the Zaporizhia Urban Ecology Program.
Save the Prairie Society has given tours of the prairie and the Prairie House to individuals from about 40 foreign lands.
The Ukrainian visit to Wolf Road Prairie was arranged through the International Visitor’s Center of Chicago Community Connections Program and funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Office of Citizen Exchanges.
Wolf Road Prairie is acclaimed as one of Illinois’ most significant natural areas. The properties known as Hickory Lane Estates are west and upstream of the preserve. There are five properties in Hickory Lane Estates that have been acquired as buffer to protect Wolf Road Prairie. One is the three acre corridor (shown here) owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Another is 10 HIckory Lane owned by Save the Prairie Society. Three additional 5 acre properties in Hickory Lane were purchased by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources along the western border of the prairie. These properties protect biodiversity and the watershed at Wolf Road Prairie.
The open space east of Wolf Road Prairie is a part of the floodplain which connects to the Mayfair Reservoir before draining into Salt Creek.
Protecting Wolf Road Prairie with Buffers
The wetland at Wolf Road Prairie (shown below) fulfills two vital functions. It holds flood waters like a huge sponge and provides habitat for birds, insects and animals dependent upon wetland ecosystems for nesting, feeding and migratory stopovers. Wetland plants also act as clarifying and purifying filters to improve water quality.
The red square in the photo below identifies one of the properties acquired by the Department of Natural Resources. Notice the stream corridor which meanders through the property and connects the prairie to the upstream watershed.
The three acre corridor connection to Hickory Lane adjacent to the Department’s acquisition is a recovering prairie remnant owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. The Prairie Triangle restoration area at 10 Hickory Lane is owned by Save the Prairie Society and is visible in the lower left corner. These three properties show how coordinated acquisition strategies can create contiguous open space protection through the cooperation of state and county conservation agencies and non-profit landowners.
Experts recommend that Wolf Road Prairie be protected through buffer acquisition and ecosystem restoration.
Protecting Stream Corridor and Wetland
The recent townhouse development visible in the upper right hand corner of the photo below is an example of encroachment by sprawl into the Wolf Road Prairie Watershed and Eco-Region.
A portion of 10 Hickory Lane (owned by Save the Prairie Society) is shown here — west of Hickory Lane Drive.
This aerial photo allows you to trace the route of the stream corridor as it meanders through Hickory Lane Estates into Wolf Road Prairie. You can also identify restoration areas on the conservation buffer properties which appear golden and textured in contrast to Eurasian turf lawn.