Lincoln-Way East Cross Country Students Lead Charge in Prairie Restoration
Thursday, September 17, 2015

Students from Lincoln Way Easts boys cross country team helped lead the charge in relocating hundreds of native prairie plants as part of the schools prairie restoration project to create an outdoor classroom for students.

As I was explaining the prairie project in my freshman biology class, student Tyler McMahon took immediate interest and motivated his entire team of 70 runners to volunteer their time, said Julie Widinski, East Biology teacher.

McMahon initially didnt know what he could do to help since the prairie project work days conflicted with cross country practice. Within one day, McMahon talked to East Cross Country Coaches Ross Widinski and Scott Fletcher as well as his fellow teammates to develop a solution committing Wednesday and Friday evenings after practice to working on the prairie project.

I was so impressed with Tylers leadership skills as a freshman to inspire his entire team to help and take ownership over the project, Widinski said.

Students have also volunteered to help create an outdoor prairie classroom at Central and efforts across the district have been organized by Mr. David Mulconrey, Mrs. Catherine Sieber and Dr. Sarah Highfill at Central, Mrs. Maria Wilson and Mr. Scott McCreary at North; and Mr. Ross and Julie Widinski and Mr. Todd Drumheller at East.

Widinski said two-thirds of Illinois, nicknamed the prairie state, was once covered in native prairie but today prairie covers less than 1% of Illinois. Contributions by Lincoln-Way staff, students and community members are helping to conserve this natural habitat.

Lincoln-Way students have been working on the outdoor classroom of prairie plants for months at Lincoln-Way Central and Lincoln-Way East. The project has attracted student and community volunteers. On Saturday, September 12, students from East, Central and North joined together to work on the prairie.

Workdays are scheduled for Saturday, October 10 and Saturday, October 24 from 9 am to noon. Volunteers are still needed, contact Julie Widinski, jwidinski@lw210.org.