Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Wild Ones presents virtual program on cemetery prairies in northern Illinois

ROCKFORD — Chris Benda will present a video program about the native prairie vegetation that can be found in old pioneer cemeteries in northern Illinois at the monthly educational program of the Wild Ones Rock River Valley Chapter on September 17th. A link to the video will be posted on the chapter website, ( beginning on September 17, and will also be distributed via Constant Contact.
Known as “the prairie state,” Illinois has some of the most productive soil in the world. This attribute has caused the tallgrass prairie to be among the most imperiled ecosystems on the
planet.  In Illinois, less than 1/100th of a percent of the original tallgrass prairie remains, and much of it occurs in pioneer cemeteries, hallowed land set aside so long ago that it was never tilled.  These are the last vestiges of a landscape once so vast there were eastern prairie fringed orchids as far as the eye could see. In this video, Chris Benda will show examples of the native prairie vegetation of Illinois found in cemetery prairies and where to see these beautiful wildflowers in northern Illinois.
Chris Benda is a botanist, author, teacher and photographer.  When not conducting botanical research in Illinois and around the world, he can be found hiking the woods near his home in Makanda with his wife Susan and dog Ruby.  Chris can be reached through his website at


Dawn Skupien is the publicity coordinator for Wild Ones, Rock River Valley Chapter.

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