Peoria Audubon Society is a local affiliate of both:
Jubilee Prairie Dawgs:
Prairie at Jubilee College State Park
Doug continued to lead the group through the tall prairie restoration. Actually, we cheated and followed several of the animal trails. In a few places, Doug pointed out how deer were bedding down in the prairie.
Doug Franks leading the Jubilee Prairie Dawg Tour
As Doug lead the group through the restored prairie, he paused to point out many of the tall plants.
Tour Group Walking Through the Prairie at Jubilee College State Park
In the above plot of prairie, note the presence of trees in the nearby Jubilee College Woods. Doug explained that the plot was in a savanna, which was defined as a grassy plain with a few scattered trees.
Mason shows that you don't have to be tall to walk through a prairie
Mason showed all the grownups that he could navigate just fine through the prairie that was taller than he was.
Small Patch of Liatris (Prairie Blazing Star)
Near one of the roads at Jubilee we came across a small patch of Liatris, which is also known as Prairie Blazing Star. Aaron Heintz, Park Manager at the Jubilee College State Park pointed out the potential medicinal value of this plant. He indicated that in earlier times the Liatris was used to develop a drug called Liatrin which could be used as a cure for venereal disease. The drug also has a number of anti-cancer properties.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Prairie Blazing Star
In the patch of Prairie Blazing Star, we came across a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. It was busy gathering nectar from the Liatris.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (male) on Liatris
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, according to the Audubon Field Guide on Butterflies, is the most widely distributed tiger swallowtail species. Further, this species, "has evolved to mimic the distasteful Pipevine Swallowtail; whose presence in the population reflects the abundance of the species it mimics."
Doug Helping John Take a Photo of Maximilian's Sunflower
Doug pointed out that the Maximilian's Sunflower was generally, one of the last sunflower species to bloom.
Blooms of Liatris in the Prairie
Many of the people in the tour stopped to take photos of the wildflowers in the prairie.
Many of the Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) were in full bloom. Several medicinal products contain extracts and expressed juice from this genus of this wildflower. The "general medicinal" qualities came about as North American Plains Indians used this plant to treat some of the symptoms of the common cold.
The above plant is Smooth Ironweed, a native perennial member of the Aster family. Some of the literature claims that the bitter foliage of this drought resistant plant discourages consumption by mammalian herbivores; notably deer. One of the references, called this plant an "increaser" because it is the one of the last plants to be eaten in overgrazed pastures. On the other hand, the flowers attract bees and butterflies seeking its nectar.
Rick Trumpe Removing a Common Mullein - an Invasive Species
Rick Trumpe removed a very large Common Mullein, which is an invasive species native to Europe, Africa and Asia. Rick commented that this was one of the largest examples he had found of this aggressive invasive. If established, this invasive would "push" the native species out of the prairie.
Jim Alwill Offering Prairie Plants Raised as Seedlings
An avid promoter of prairie landscapes, Jim Alwill raised the above 'prairie plugs' as seedlings. Additionally, Jim provides prairie plants for both Peoria and Stark County Soil and Water Conservation Services to support local communities.
Constance picked out a "plug" from Jim
Constance picked out one of the "prairie plugs" from Jim to help expand a patch of prairie. Jim's tee-shirt promotes the "Burn It Where You Buy It" program to help prevent the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer; a highly destructive invasive insect species of ash trees.
Constance and Refreshments Provided by the Jubilee Prairie Dawgs
In the heat and high humidity, rehydration was very important as exhibited by all the refreshments. The Jubilee Prairie Dawgs went out of their way at being gracious hosts for a very enjoyable tour of (restored) native Illinois Prairie.
Tallgrass Prairie Restoration by Hal Gardner
Harold (Hal) Gardner in the 80's was one of the founders of the Jubilee Prairie Dawgs. In 2011, Hal wrote a book as a hands-on guide to describe all the aspects of restoring tallgrass prairie. His book, Tallgrass Prairie Restoration in the Midwestern and Eastern United States is available for purchase online at Springer, a publisher of Science and Business.
The Peoria Audubon Society is very grateful that the Jubilee Prairie Dawgs took the time and energy to host this annual tour of restored native prairie in Peoria County. Further, Peoria Audubon is very grateful that the Dawgs work to maintain the small 6 acre plot of prairie owned by Peoria Audubon.
Printable folding brochure of the Jubilee Prairie Dawgs.
Photos courtesy of Dennis Endicott - All rights reserved
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