According to Dr. Jacobs (CSU biology professor), "Prairies are grasslands that once
dominated the landscape of Illinois, nicknamed the prairie state. However, today they
cover less than 1% of what used to be 22 million acres. In urban areas, remnant and
restored prairies contribute to the biological diversity and green space while offering
a needed respite to urban populations."
Dr. Karel Jacobs, CSU Professor of Urban Forestry, is presently engaged in research
in the garden. "My students and I are evaluating the soil health in the prairie. Prairies
and native landscapes help restore and detoxify sites. So, our research involves comparing
the health of the prairie soils with adjunct soils." Dr. Jacobs also uses the garden
to instruct students on how to teach biology.
Dr. Timothy Bell, Professor of Botany, started the garden in 2003 with a grant from
Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Since then, additional faculty have become
involved in its development and this year, due to a second IDNR grant, a prairie gardener
and a volunteer coordinator have been hired. It was the volunteer coordinator, Ms.
Kelly Bolger who entered the prairie garden in the citywide competition.
Grant - Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Award - Mayor's Landscape Awards Program
Dr. Timothy J. Bell
Mrs. Susan Kirt-Alterio