Wild in the City: Chicagoland's Urban Ecology


Sheaffer and Olson, a science teacher, had previously worked with the ecologists who restored prairie to Fermi National Laboratory in nearby Batavia in the mid to late 1970s. Sheaffer, Hoff, and Olson knew how to prepare the soil, who to contact to obtain the seeds necessary for prairie restoration, and how to maintain the restored prairies.


Preserved and restored tallgrass prairies require a significant amount of maintenance by humans if they are to survive in a suburban landscape. Hoff, Sheaffer, and Olson have all organized and educated bands of volunteers to remove unwanted plants, reseed areas of prairie, and conduct controlled burns to reduce woody growth and open up the surface to renewed prairie growth.
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