Help advance the ecological legacy of Fermilab

A large meadow of yellow flowers on green stems fills the bottom third of the photo. A 16-story concrete building sits in it on the right side near the horizon. Above it, blue skies.

Wilson Hall floats in a sea of brown-eyed Susans. Photo: Wally Levernier

The natural areas at Fermilab are one of its distinguishing characteristics. They provide enjoyable hours for many lab employees throughout the week. These can be good places to take a break from the daily grind and observe beautiful plants and wildlife.

Before the lab existed, much of this land was used for agriculture. Its conversion to prairie began in 1975 with the Robert Wilson’s approval, Robert Betz’s expertise, and Roads and Grounds’ work. For more information on the beginning of the prairies watch “Part and Parcel of Nature: Illinois Tallgrass Prairie at Fermilab.”

To manage these areas, the Prairie Committee, now the Ecological Land Management Committee, was created. The ELM Committee comprises Fermilab employees and consulting members, including land managers, biologists and experts from other federal agencies, state and county government, Fermilab Natural Areas and private companies. Today on Fermilab’s campus, about 2,600 acres are managed as natural areas, including wetlands, prairies, savannas, woodlands and forests. They provide diverse habitats for plants and animals to thrive.

If you have questions about the natural areas or how you can become involved please send me an email.

The ELM Committee is currently searching for a volunteer administrative assistant.

Wally Levernier is a senior natural resource specialist in FESS.