Batavia, IL-Autumn means harvest time, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab again invites its neighbors to help harvest prairie flower seeds in conjunction with National Public Lands Day. The harvesting will take place from 10 AM to 2 PM on Saturday, September 23, 2000, continuing the lab’s effort to restore one of the few remaining tallgrass landscapes in Illinois.
Fermilab staffers will teach volunteers to recognize specific prairie plants that are missed by mechanical harvesters, and how to clip their ripe flower heads for seeds. The harvested seeds will be collected for new plantings on the Fermilab site, or for donations to prairie restoration projects around the Midwest.
“The seed is used to enrich young prairie and help build diversity into the grasslands,” says Fermilab prairie specialist Bob Lootens.
National Public Lands Day is being celebrated throughout the Chicagoland area with activities at many parks and forest preserves. In addition to the harvesting, Fermilab and co-sponsors, the Geneva Park District and the Kane County Forest Preserve, will conduct natures at 11 AM and 1:30 PM.
Road signs at Fermilab will indicate the harvest site location. Volunteers should wear field clothes and gloves, and bring pruning shears and paper grocery bags. Refreshments will be provided. Any large groups planning to attend should contact Fermilab’s Roads and Grounds Department at 630-840-3303.
Fermilab will also host a second volunteer Prairie Harvest on Saturday, October 28, also from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In case of bad weather on either Saturday morning, call the Fermilab switchboard (630-840-3000) for the latest information on whether the harvest has been rescheduled.
For more information, call Fermilab’s Office of Public Affairs (630-840-3351).
Fermilab is a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory, operated under contract by Universities Research Association, Inc.