Free Prairie Tours Available at COD this Summer
By Mike McKissack
Tours of the Russell Kirt Prairie at College of DuPage will be available this summer from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25 and Aug. 8, and from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, July 5 and 26, Aug. 16 and Sept. 20.
As they take a guided walk through the College’s prairie restorations, participants will learn about the wildlife and natural processes as well as identify some of the more than 100 species of native Illinois plants found throughout the 18-acre prairie preserve.
For more information about these free tours, click here or call (630) 942-8331.
A glimpse of the time when tallgrass prairie still existed plentifully in the area, the College’s prairie areas serve as an outdoor classroom in the biological sciences, enabling students an opportunity to gain real-world experience in field-based research.
First planted in 1985, Kirt Prairie was reconstructed on clay and gravel excavated for the construction of the Student Resource Center and covered with a thin layer of imported topsoil which enabled seed spreading and planting. The area comprises approximately six acres of
marsh, a one-acre retention pond, 11 acres of reconstructed prairie and savanna, and a quarter mile of seed production beds. Over a half mile of trails, including a 1/6-mile wheelchair accessible stretch, allows easy access for non-consumptive recreational use.
The Glen Ellyn campus is also home to the B.J. Hoddinott Wildlife Sanctuary, the oldest restoration area, which includes a nine-acre marsh and wetland area dedicated in 1983, as well as a 15-acre Ecological Study Area comprising three acres of marsh, four acres of successional woodland and eight acres of reconstructed prairie. The Ecological Study area also includes more than a half mile of trails available for non-consumptive recreational use.
The College’s prairies feature nearly 300 species of native tallgrass plants, more than 80 of which were reintroduced over the years. In addition, the area also hosts a variety of wildlife including many species of insects, toads, frogs, turtles, small mammals, coyotes and birds such as warblers, wading birds, owls and hawks.
Click here for more information about the natural restoration areas at College of DuPage.
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137
(630) 942-2800 (Main)
(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)
2017 College of DuPage