Stone Barn Savanna
By Mark Jordan, STONE BARN SAVANNA'S LAND STEWARD
In a state that ranks 49th based on the amount of natural landscape that remains, the Nachusa Grasslands and the Tellabs unit are an oasis amidst the fields, highways and cities that many associate with this state. Stone Barn Savanna (Tellabs unit) is simultaneously rich and degraded. There are wonderful plant and animals species that thrive here. Birds are singing, insects are visiting flowers, and native plants small and large are growing. However, many exotic and invasive plants have arrived and interrupted the traditional interactions in a natural savanna–woodland community.
To me Stone Barn Savanna is a special place, because forty–five years ago I spent many of my youthful days hiking, exploring, and camping in this area. It was a place to climb trees, ford creeks, identify birds, scale cliffs, and collect rocks.
Stone Barn Savanna is a place of memory and a place of hope. Although the land has changed since I first explored as a
youth, the landscape contains the plant components that will eventually develop into a high–quality natural community. Many individuals have worked hard to protect the unit and begin restoration. It will take many years of pulling, digging, and planting, gallons of sweat, and learning from successes and mistakes to fulfill the hope of a new Stone Barn Savanna. The efforts of many and a commitment to a long–term goal are necessary to restore this area to a place reminiscent of the landscape and ecology of the Prairie State.
Stone Barn Savanna reminds us that we share this place with companion life forms. Here is an opportunity to work toward reestablishing the relationships that characterize a natural community. The oak and the woodpecker, the baptisia and the bee, the sand and the spider are part of the diversity of this area. Enjoy the specialness and the promise of Stone Barn Savanna.
Stop 1 — Open Woodland
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