Hiking Tour Schedule
Autumn on the Prairie
10:15 am. Make your pictures worth a thousand words
From flowers to rolling hills, the landscapes at Nachusa are beautiful and photogenic. Photographer Charles Larry will give you some hints for taking that memorable picture.
Easy and Child Friendly
10:30 am. Birding on the edge
Tony Del Valle will lead this tour along the boundary between the prairie and the savanna to explore the world of grassland nesting birds from dickcissels, to Henslow and grasshopper sparrows.
Moderate to somewhat Difficult
10:45 am. Tea Time!
Join Heather Baker, Nachusa Grasslands volunteer, to sample a selection of prairie teas made from native plants of the grasslands, while touring and learning about the prairie.
11 am. There’s science behind all of this
Nachusa hosts scientists who come here for research on the plants and animals on the prairie. Elizabeth Bach is Nachusa’s science director. She will show you where some of these special projects are. From rare bees to understanding the impact of bison dung, there are strange and interesting places you normally can’t find without a guide.
11:30 am. How do they do it?
Restoring prairie is what it’s all about, but that takes many hours of hard work. Nachusa volunteers, including Bernie Buchholz, have produced some of the finest restorations anywhere. Bernie will explain what it takes to collect seed for more than 100 species and how to protect a new planting from invasive weeds.
12 pm. It’s a big job; someone’s got to do it
Join Nachusa crew leader, Molly Duncan, to learn first-hand what it takes to restore and maintain Nachusa’s prairies—from weed control to seed collecting and planting. It’s a tough job, but many of our crew members go on to careers in the field. Molly will explain how collected seed is processed, and will show you plantings done by previous crews.
12:30 pm. Keeping it all together
Damien Considine is Nachusa’s go-to guy for whatever needs doing. Collecting seed, preparing fire breaks, building fence, and building the bison corral are all jobs that volunteers might do at Nachusa. Damien will show you where and how it gets done.
1 pm. Flowers of the prairie
Discover some amazing adaptations prairie plants have to survive. Nachusa has more than 750 native plant species. Susan Kleiman will take you through some of the most diverse spots at Nachusa.
Easy to Moderate; Child Friendly
1:30 pm. It’s the season
The song says, “the flowers that bloom in the spring tra-la,” but autumn on the prairie can be just as colorful. Join Dee Hudson for a blue and gold floral exploration at Thelma Carpenter Prairie, a unit filled with asters and goldenrods. The hike will showcase the beautiful fall color palette of the prairie.
2 pm. How about those bison?
Volunteering in the bison unit presents challenges, including surprise encounters with both the animals and their meadow muffins. Join Al and Mary Meier as they hike through remnants and restorations, observing bison paths and wallows as well as late summer blooms.
2:30 pm. A Walk in The Woods
Oak woodland is an important piece of the original prairie structure. Austin Webb will take you to a savanna that contains stands of oak and hickory interspersed with patches of prairie and beautiful sandstone rock outcrops in the area.
Moderate to Difficult
3 p.m. Secrets from the early days
From a surprise hidden prairie to a restored woodland, this tour is an example of restoration done years ago and what has happened since. John Schmadeke will show how the hidden prairie (you will never find it without a guide), and woodland were restored. The tall yellow compass plants demonstrate how an older planting is beginning to look like the real thing. A restored creek and wetland are part of the unit.