New Stewardship Community Forming at Shaw Woods & Prairie

  • Shaw Prairie - a rich prairie threatened by invasive brushStephen Packard

    Shaw Prairie - a rich prairie threatened by invasive brushStephen Packard

Updated 9/21/2021 11:20 AM

A new conservation initiative is being launched at the Shaw Woods and Prairie (in the Skokie River Nature Preserve) on October 2nd at 10:00am. All are invited to consider volunteering in a new way at this beautiful and important site. We seek to kick off a "next generation" approach for restoring good ecological health to the prairies, wetlands, and woodlands here.

"The birds, butterflies and the whole ecosystem will need the kind of long-term habitat restoration that comes only from a "work-learn-and-lead" volunteer community," said Ryan London, Vice President of Conservation who has coordinated the project for LFOLA. "Shaw Prairie is where it all began for Lake Forest Open Lands, and the heritage of this site is so important to our community. But we are a long way from providing what this important preserve needs. The most exciting parts are still to come."


"We humbly expect to make history," said Stephen Packard, who has helped organize many eco-stewards groups. "October 2 will kick off a new community that is expected to be an important model of a new kind of biodiversity conservation initiative. The key is community-minded people who like to do physical work in the spirit or creativity and curiosity. Might you be such a person?"

The kick-off event on October 2 is being supported by Lake Forest Open Lands, the Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves, and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. It will feature conservation experts like Glenn Adelson and Stephen Packard. Adelson teaches at Lake Forest College and edited Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology. Packard is editor of the Tallgrass Restoration Handbook and has helped launch many restoration initiatives.

Natural prairie and oak savanna at one time covered more than two thirds of Illinois. Today less than one hundredth of 1% is left. "The remnants here are some of the best," said Christos Economou, one of the Friends volunteer leaders.

All are invited to join us on October 2 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at Shaw Prairie. Park at the end of Laurel Ave in Lake Forest. Wear sturdy shoes and clothes you don't mind getting dirty. For the first hour we'll study and discuss. For the second, we'll work, hard, but at our own pace, and stopping as needed to share ideas and nature with each other.

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