Monday, September 27, 2010

Orland Grasslands Autumn Festival

Participants attending the Autumn Festival were privileged to find Stephen Packard (man in brown hat) of Chicago Audubon and "The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook/Stephen Packard " leading a tour of the restoration in progress at Orland Grassland, a 960 acre preserve that is part of the forest preserve system in Chicagoland.

Holding a tiny piece of purple prairie clover Steve explained how the plant grows very little above ground the first and second year but is busy growing roots a foot or more deep into the soil and that prairie plants often grow root systems many feet deep into the soil. Each stop throughout the walk was filled with information about this restoration and the plants and animals being encountered there.

Trekking across the grassland eager to learn more.

Given a bucket with rope attached to hang around our necks freeing hands for seed collection,small paper sacks to keep seeds separate,

and an awesome tool that holds snipped seedheads/pods until released into container, many helped collect seed. Anyone wanting to learn about native plants and seed collection should find a nature reserve at which to volunteer. Hands on experience is the best teacher and help is always appreciated. There is always someone willing to show you the ropes.

Seed collecting along with other activities will continue several times a month.
Orland Grasslands
2nd & 4th Saturdays
2nd Wednesdays
Newsletter pdf

Illinois bundleflower seed pods collected in a bag

Some work, like removal of invasives and more is also being done within the wooded areas surrounding the grassland.

A road closed years ago when the property was acquired makes for good access.

A prairie legume discussed but which I can not remember even the name.

prairie blazingstar

Illinois bundleflower

Two pictures of a couple of hoary puccoon plants spotted but no seed to gather. It was explained that some seed is always left behind and if there are few seeds none are collected that season. Hopefully the Lithospermum canescens /hoary puccoon will continue to grow and spread until volunteers are free to gather seed.

There were tents with displays and free refreshments for guests. Many volunteers were available to answer questions and make everyone feel welcome. See you there next year.