Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Bison Grand Marshals at Wilmington Catfish Days Parade

The City of Wilmington, Illinois honored the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie bison herd by naming the bison Grand Marshals of the 2016 Wilmington Catfish Days Parade.

Bison were reintroduced to Midewin in October 2015 as part of an experiment to observe how bison grazing habits impact prairie restoration.

Wilmington purchased a bison sculpture by the late, local artist Jack Barker in anticipation of the reintroduction and subsequent increased eco-tourism traffic heading to Midewin and Wilmington.

The sculpture was pulled in the parade and was joined by Smokey the Bear and a large photo of a bison and a baby bison.  Beautiful native plants like the compass plant framed by bison photo, giving parade spectators a glimpse of what years of work to restore the tallgrass prairie in Illinois has yielded: