'Caring for Life That Sustains Us': Introduction to native plants, their care and management

On Saturday, Feb. 16, Garfield Farm Museum in Campton Hills will hold a series of discussions on the basics of preserving and raising native plants of northern Illinois woods and prairie for the backyard be it city lot or rural field.

When so much from clean air and water, pollinators of our food, sequestration of carbon dioxide, healthy soil biota, to wildlife and natural beauty depend on human management, no citizen can afford to lack understanding of this complex web of life.

Jerome Johnson, executive director and museum biologist of Garfield Farm Museum, will begin the first discussion on locating where native plants once grew and occur today beginning at 8:45 a.m.

Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences, challenges, and questions. In particular, they should identify the township number, its range, and the section number of their property's location.

At 10:15 a.m., a presentation on over 100 native plants will develop a sense in the participants of how to recognize general types by their appearance, where they grow, and season of flowering.

Participants can learn which plants might do best on one's own property. Basic methods of seed collecting and propagation of plants will be highlighted.

At 1:15 p.m., Johnson will discuss the most visible tool of native plant management, controlled burns, methods and techniques and ways to achieve similar results without fire.

Participants will be encouraged to bring simple maps, hand sketched or printed out from internet mapping sites, to learn of the practically of different management techniques for their site.

At 2:30 p.m., the tools of management will be featured with a chance to examine and handle them. Discussion of mechanical and chemical control of invasive species will include any requirements for permits or training.

Johnson will share his 35 years of experience in managing the 55 acres of woods, prairie, and wetlands of Garfield Farm Museum that sits among 375 acres of farmland, hedgerows, creeks, roads, neighboring subdivisions, historic structures and open space.

A single session is $15, two for $25 and $45 for all four sessions. Reservations are required. Light refreshments are included. All-day attendees should bring a lunch or go out for lunch.

Garfield Farm Museum is located at 3N016 Garfield Road, off Route 38, five miles west of Geneva.

To get details or to make reservations, contact (630) 584-8485 or email

Garfield Farm & Tavern Museum is a historically intact 375-acre former 1840s prairie farmstead and inn being restored as an 1840s working farm. Volunteers and donors from more than 3,500 households and 37 states have donated thousands of hours of volunteer time and $12 million to save and preserve the site.

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As part of the Native Plant Management program on Saturday, Feb. 16, museum biologist Jerome Johnson will discuss how to use controlled burns or other methods at Garfield Farm Museum in Campton Hills. Courtesy of Garfield Farm Museum
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