Boots On The Ground Conservation

Our mission is to restore and manage native grasslands.

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Student volunteers seeding their special acre.

It’s been a busy year for NIPE so we'd like to share all our news.  Here are the 2014 highlights:

  • We picked approximately 1,400 lb. of seed.  The 156 different species (all found in NW IL) were used on 49 acres of prairie plantings throughout the area.  This was done with some paid labor and LOTS of volunteer help.  We could NOT accomplish all we do without the help of volunteers!
  • Continued management of our own properties (Hanley Savanna & Elmoville Prairie) by brush cutting, weed control, inter-seeding, and burning.
  • Continued educating landowners on the importance and the process of maintaining and restoring prairies.
  • Worked on streamlining our seed picking and processing.

We’ve upheld our ongoing partnership with Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF) by continuing to maintain previously planted prairies at Casper Bluff and Gateway Park and have seeded additional acres at Casper Bluff, Gateway Park and Horseshoe Mound with locally picked prairie seed.

We also partnered with JDCF on the Sunshine Acre program, working with ‘challenged’ students from the Northwest Academy. These students are learning the process of restoring and maintaining prairies hands-on.  They have adopted, picked seed for and sown an acre at Casper Bluff.

 Our plans for 2015 include major renovations to our seed shed, continued prairie management, and collecting at least 45 acres worth of prairie seed.  It looks to be another busy year ahead!

Please consider helping NIPE out in 2015 by volunteering your time with seed picking and processing and/or brush cutting/weeding (we love volunteers!!) Please send interested folks our way and visit a prairie next summer!

We hope you have a nice holiday season and a happy, healthy New Year!

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Are Botanists Ruining Prairies

Conserving prairies full of conservative plants makes sense for the larger conservation effort. Right?  Because prairies with lots of rare plants also have lots of rare insects, rare bird species, etc.  Right?  Well – maybe not.  In fact, while there are a few instances in which that’s true there are many more cases where it’s not.


A Metaphor for Prairie Restoration

Prairie restoration can be a powerful tool for grassland conservation, but we’re not taking advantage of its full potential.  Too often, we think and talk about prairie restoration (aka prairie reconstruction) in the wrong way.  Instead of trying to restore an ecosystem, we try to reproduce history. Read more...