Although Tallgrass Prairie is a habitat that dominated central Illinois prior to settlement, it is a habitat that is now found in tiny and scattered patches between manicured lawns, cultivated land, and paved urban areas. Being the native habitat of the region, prairie supports a wide variety of native organisms. While this has its own obvious ecological value, some of these organisms-such as birds, butterflies and wildflowers-are also of particular aesthetic value to humans. Establishing a plot of native prairie on campus would provide a sense of place to the campus and all of its constituents, as well as provide an educational tool to students, instructors, and community members. Once established and managed carefully for a few years, tallgrass prairie requires very little additional upkeep or labor. In effect, prairie restoration would in a relatively short amount of time reduce the overall energy (in labor, fossil fuels, fertilizers and pesticides) spent in landscape management, making the campus overall more sustainable.


Environmental Sciences