Sunday, April 27, 2014

Last Time?

Tom Spangler prepares soil for planting in a field that would be bisected by the B3 alignment for the proposed Illiana Tollway.

The B3 alignment for the Illiana Expressway would run East to West through this farm field directly East of Symerton

Farmer Tom Spangler says if the Illiana Expressway is constructed through this farm field, it will take him much more time to work the ground because of time spent traveling to the part of his farm that would be on the other side of the Illiana Expressway.  Increased fuel costs and the fact that the risk of breakdowns increases the more the machinery is moved weigh as consequences to Spangler's farm being bisected by the Illiana Tollway.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Midewin Volunteers Bring Prairie Plants out of Bunker Hibernation

By Ann Baskerville

Prairie Volunteers and Boy Scouts spent a Saturday morning helping Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie staff take native prairie plants out of winter storage.  According to Midewin botanist Jennifer Durkin, native prairie seedlings are housed in bunkers during the winter because the seedlings are still developing a strong root system and can not handle harsh winter weather.  The same characteristics that made the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant bunkers good places to store ammunition make them ideal for storing baby plants.  The bunkers's solid concrete covered by earth creates an insulated space that allows the plants to survive even the drastically low temperatures we experienced this winter.

Ammunition bunkers in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.  Native prairie plant seedlings are stored in a bunker through winter.
Native plants stored inside a bunker at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Volunteers form an assembly line to move plants from the bunker to the trailer for transport
Volunteers and Midewin staff loaded seedlings onto a trailer for transport back to the Horticulture Center

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie staff and volunteers take native plants out of winter storage--an ammunition bunker
An example of a tray of plugs containing prairie plants: French Grass, Psoralea Onobrychis
Prairie Plants taken out of winter storage in the bunker were to be moved to the outdoor hoop houses near the Midewin Welcome Center

Volunteers viewed old Joliet Arsenal Ammunition Plant buildings during the group's caravan through Midewin to reach the site of bunkers storing prairie plants