Yonder Prairie Keeps Getting Better - New Grant Awarded
TLC doesn't work just to preserve land, we also strive to restore it and to make it the best possible place for native plants and animals to thrive. Before restoration began at Yonder Prairie, there were a few isolated pockets of remnant prairie and sedge meadow in a sea of buckthorn and other invasive shrubs.
With the help of grants and volunteers we got to work clearing the brush and other weeds, and now it's a vast, contiguous open natural area.
In July 2014, TLC began a new phase of habitat restoration funded by a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. Part of the challenge was to get 400 volunteer hours, which we did through our monthly volunteer days. In that time, the volunteers managed to clear out the entire Yonder Bluff addition - enlarging the area covered by native plants.
The funding also helped TLC to manage other weeds, like reed canary grass and re-sprouting brush. The wetlands at Yonder are high quality, but reed canary grass is established in certain areas. We hope to push out these colonies and turn these areas into lush sedge meadows. Re-sprouting brush is a big problem in any natural area. The volunteer days are great for clearing out the large invasive trees and shrubs, but after we move on, the seed bank of invasive shrubs starts to grow again. It's important to keep going back to these areas to ensure they're not reverting back into a buckthorn jungle.
Every year Yonder gets better, and visitors can enjoy the haunting calls of snipes in the spring time, and the carpet of Prairie Dock and Liatris blooms in late summer. We plan on continuing all the work TLC volunteers and staff have been doing since 2009.
The next phase will be restoring the 26-acre addition off of Rosefarm Road. The Illinios Clean Energy Community Foundation offered us another challenge grant. Between June 1, 2016 and November 30, 2017, they will award TLC up to $30,000 if we raise $8,250 and 400 volunteer hours for restoration of the 26 acres along Rosefarm Road before December 2017.
Please come out on the 2nd Saturday of every month and help raise $30,000 to take care of Yonder.