Saturday, November 15, 2008

Massive Prairie Planting

Something very exciting is happening next weekend and if you have the time, it would be worth your time to participate.

A massive planting will take place next Saturday (November 22) from 9am to noon and 1pm to 4pm at the Headwaters Forest Preserve, just south of Barrington Hills in Cook County. No experience is needed - just show up and they will put you to work!

So what will you be doing? First of all, you will be working in a group. Your group will be given buckets mixed with soil and seeds. After you walk about a half mile along the preserve, you will take handfuls of seeds and soils and disperse them in the wind. I bet some of you didn't even know that wind dispersal was a method of planting. Not all plants that start from seed are planting in the group by people. Many seeds are dispersed by birds, mammals, or reptiles. Some seeds even travel through water (rivers, streams, and even oceans), eventually finding their way to land where they are planted.

This massive planting effort is part of an almost 4,000 acre restoration project at the forest preserve. Volunteers will disperse more than 120 plant species across 160 acres of former corn and soybean fields.

This project is possible due to the efforts of the Spring Creek Stewards. According to their website, their mission is to restore the ecological health of the Spring Creek Forest Preserves and to increase public awareness, participation and appreciation of the preserves. The work that they have done has not gone unnoticed: Two vanished species of rare grassland birds have already returned. They have also cleaned up an area that had been neglected for years due to illegal dumping. These guys are really making a difference.

If you already have plans for next Saturday and cannot join in the massive planting, check out the Spring Creek Stewards website at for future projects. If you are free next Saturday and want to help, then put on your long johns, grab your gloves, don a hat and mom will see you out there!

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