Tour the Russell Kirt Prairie and learn about native plant and wildlife June 5 through Aug. 14 at the College of DuPage Glen Ellyn campus, 425 Fawell Blvd.
Participants will learn about the wildlife, natural processes and the prairie’s more than 100 species of native Illinois plants on a guided walk through the 18-acre site’s restoration areas. Tours are offered 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, June 5, July 3, and Aug. 14; and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 28.
Dates are subject to change due to weather conditions.
First planted in 1985, Kirt Prairie was reconstructed on clay and gravel excavated for the construction of the Student Resource Center and covered with a thin layer of imported topsoil which enabled seed spreading and planting. The area comprises approximately six acres of marsh, a one-acre retention pond, 11 acres of reconstructed prairie and savanna, and a quarter mile of seed production beds. Over a half mile of trails, including a 1/6-mile wheelchair accessible stretch, allow easy access for non-consumptive recreational use.
The College’s prairie areas serve as an outdoor classroom in the biological sciences, enabling students an opportunity to gain real-world experience in field-based research.
In addition to the prairie, COD’s Glen Ellyn campus is also home to the B.J. Hoddinott Wildlife Sanctuary, which includes a nine-acre marsh and wetland area dedicated in 1983, as well as a 15-acre Ecological Study Area comprising three acres of marsh, four acres of successional woodland and eight acres of reconstructed prairie. The Ecological Study area also includes more than a half mile of trails available for non-consumptive recreational use.
The College’s natural areas feature nearly 300 species of native tallgrass plants, more than 80 of which were reintroduced over the years. In addition, the area also hosts a variety of wildlife including many species of insects, toads, frogs, turtles, small mammals, coyotes and birds such as warblers, wading birds, owls and hawks.