Prairie Journal

Prairie Recovery Journal

Throughout the spring, summer and autumn months, the native grasslands of the midwest undergo vast, progressive changes. Your assignment is to monitor the spring (or summer) progress of one particular prairie. You may use one of the College of DuPage prairies (east of the main campus, next to 22nd, or next to the LRC parking lot), or any other appropriate prairie.

  1. Whatever area you select, it must contain largely native grasses and flowering plants, not European imports, and it should be an area which undergoes periodic burnoffs or similar appropriate maintenance (most maintained prairies are burned yearly, either in the late fall or early spring.

  2. You must visit your prairie at least once each week, beginning the third week of the quarter, ending the tenth (ninth week for summer session) week of the quarter. You should report weekly on its progress. This means that you journal must have a minimum of 8 (7 in summer) weekly entries. Fewer entries means fewer points! Missed weeks also mean fewer points.

  3. Your reports should be in the form of a journal or diary, with dated weekly entries.

  4. As much as possible, record the identities of the plants you see or, if you are unable to identify them, record descriptions, drawings, photos, etc. By later in the quarter, you will be expected to identify many of the plants you see. There will be some examples of prairie journals from previous years for you to look at for ideas.

  5. Try to make your journal a record of your personal experience with the prairie, rather than simply a record of when you went and what you saw. Many different approaches are possible and acceptable. The more involvement I sense, the higher the grade.

  6. REMEMBER: Virtually all prairie areas are preserves, and you should never, ever remove or mutilate any plants or parts of plants. That means you aren't allowed to pick the flowers!

  7. Prairie Journals must be turned in before the final exam of the quarter. Each day late will cost 5 points.

  8. Prairie Journals are worth 50 points, with bonus points awarded for exceptional efforts.

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