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“Every American has the right as part of his cultural heritage to stand in grass as high as his head in order to feel some small measure of history coursing his veins and personally establish an aesthetic bond with the past.”  - William H. Elder

Native tall grass prairie once dominated the Illinois landscape.   Within a span of time when European settlers came to America, 99.9 % of all Illinois prairies were destroyed.  Small remnants remain as a reminder of what Illinois looked like before European settlement. Farmers made a life for themselves and their families by growing crops on the deep topsoil created by Illinois farmers.  The tall grass prairie has found new life as scientists learn about the amazing plants and their medicinal value, the ability of plants to purify contaminated soil and water, and the ability of wild areas to reduce anxiety and ADHD in children.  Artists have captured the beauty of these rare and beautiful species in landscape designs, photography, and paintings.   Restored prairies are a reminder of our past, but also provide a wealth of resources for our future.  For these reasons, Lincoln-Way has two restored prairies that provide our students with opportunities and experiences necessary to grow academically and socially.  Lincoln-Way students have researched, restored, and preserved a part of Illinois heritage.  These sites serve as an outdoor laboratory across our diverse curriculums.  These sites are designed to promote learning for both students and our community. 

 

 

Students, community groups, and volunteers have planned, constructed, and maintained the land.  Most of the prairie seeds for the prairie were collected from local seed sources.  Our best source has been David Kropp’s (local prairie expert) prairie.  Our students learn the plants, collect and process the seeds, therefore helping students learn the importance of volunteerism and stewardship.  After the seeds have been processed, our District 210 Environmental Action Club (EAC) mentored different clubs in the area to plant the prairie.  The center of the prairie has a set of seven educational signs that our club designed and created to help guide students and the community on the history of the prairies in Illinois.  Students and volunteers have been the driving force behind the work done on the land.  The area serves as an educational tool, volunteer and mentoring activity, place to observe nature, and an outdoor classroom.  The native prairie, surrounding woods, bat houses, and bluebird houses are all monitored by volunteers in the area utilizing the experience of local experts such as David Kropp and Kay MacNeil.

 

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Our Lincoln-Way Community Prairie operates because of the generous donation of time by our students, community members, and staff.  The time spent working with others for the environment provides a lasting bond for all those involved.  We would love to include you in our community workdays.  Contact Scott McCreary at 1-815-534-3178 or e-mail at smccreary@lw210.org.

 

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