Harper remembers beloved professor at prairie dedication

  • Members of Harper College biology professor Craig Stettner's extended family release milkweed seeds Thursday during the dedication of the prairie on the school's Palatine campus in his memory. Stettner died in Costa Rica while swimming last Christmas.

    Members of Harper College biology professor Craig Stettner's extended family release milkweed seeds Thursday during the dedication of the prairie on the school's Palatine campus in his memory. Stettner died in Costa Rica while swimming last Christmas. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A monarch butterfly is released Thursday by Judith Stettner, mother of Harper College biology professor Craig Stettner, who died during a trip to Costa Rica last year. The college instructor helped launch the prairie at the Palatine campus.

    A monarch butterfly is released Thursday by Judith Stettner, mother of Harper College biology professor Craig Stettner, who died during a trip to Costa Rica last year. The college instructor helped launch the prairie at the Palatine campus. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A crowd of family, friends and colleagues of Craig Stettner gather Thursday on the walkway over the campus prairie to dedicate the land in his honor. Stettner, who died last year, often visited the prairie to conduct habitat restoration, clear trails and supervise annual controlled burns.

    A crowd of family, friends and colleagues of Craig Stettner gather Thursday on the walkway over the campus prairie to dedicate the land in his honor. Stettner, who died last year, often visited the prairie to conduct habitat restoration, clear trails and supervise annual controlled burns. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The Craig Stettner Prairie was dedicated Thursday at Harper College in Palatine in honor of the biology professor who died last year.

    The Craig Stettner Prairie was dedicated Thursday at Harper College in Palatine in honor of the biology professor who died last year. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Craig Stettner

    Craig Stettner

 
Daily Herald report
Updated 9/19/2019 5:36 PM

Family, friends and colleagues of beloved Harper College professor Craig Stettner gathered Thursday to formally dedicate the school's prairie in his honor.

Stettner, who drowned in Costa Rica while swimming with his family on Christmas Day 2018, was a member of the Harper biology department and faculty adviser for the environmental club. He helped launch the prairie on the Palatine campus and visited it often to conduct habitat restoration, clear trails and supervise annual controlled burns.

 

He also led study abroad trips to Costa Rica and was part of a group that strives to incorporate environmental issues into the college curriculum.

On Thursday afternoon, those who knew Stettner helped spread milkweed seeds in the expansive prairie. The flowering plant helps support the monarch butterfly population.

The idea to name the prairie for Stettner came from the faculty senate and students, and the board of trustees approved it in April.

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