Keep an eye on environment with Illinois’ PrairieWatch!

Keep an eye on environment with Illinois’ PrairieWatch!


Do you want to get closer to the prairie and learn more about the life it supports? Are you interested in taking an active role in surveying the quality of your local environment? The Illinois EcoWatch Network needs volunteers to monitor randomly selected PrairieWatch sites throughout the state. Volunteers may also choose their own sites. A PrairieWatch training session is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, July 20 at the Byron Forest Preserve’s Jarrett Prairie Center.

This training session consists of a classroom workshop where volunteers will learn to identify prairie plants and butterflies used to assess forest health. The field portion of the training is designed to demonstrate data monitoring techniques. Citizen Scientists then adopt a local prairie to monitor every other year between June and October. Citizen Scientists perform a plant survey, shrub layer survey, butterfly survey and more! The data collected by EcoWatch Citizen Scientists will be used by the Department of Natural Resources to assess long-term trends in ecosystem health across the state. This data is also open to the public for use in local watershed management plans.

This is a great way to get involved and help Illinois’ environment! These trainings are free of charge; please dress appropriately. To register for this training, please contact Pete Jackson of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at (312) 814-4747 or e-mail Visit the web sites at for more information about the Illinois EcoWatch Network.

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