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Reserve Now for 33rd Annual Native Plants & Natural Area Management Seminar

CAMPTON HILLS, IL    Reservations for Garfield Farm Museum’s 33rd annual Natural Area Management Seminar to be held on Saturday, February 17th from 8:30 am-4:30pm are now being taken. From backyard gardeners to natural area volunteers, homeowner associations and property owners who wish to use native plants, this seminar covers all the basics to begin or expand one’s plantings.


    As Illinois celebrates its 200th anniversary of statehood, few of its residents actually understand or have seen what gives it its nick name, “the Prairie State”. Yet not understanding what the prairie was is comparable to someone not knowing how the Rocky Mountains shaped life in the West.

    Jack Shouba, Conner Shaw, Trish Beckjord, Ben Habethur and Jerome Johnson will share their years of experience and knowledge in saving the native plants of Illinois that are suited for this climate and habitat. Full day attendance and lunch is $55 and for those who can only attend a half day, the cost is $25.

    Although Illinois is a state where almost all of the native habitat was turned into productive farm fields or woodland pastures, efforts since the 1960s have grown to bring back the very native plants that contribute to a healthy environment, clean water and an ecosystem for native animals, butterflies, and insects.

    The day’s topics will begin with historic research to determine what an area was like when Illinois was being first settled and developed. The following session will be focused on identifying native plants. Jerome Johnson, museum biologist will lead these two sessions.

    The good, the bad and the ugly will be naturalist Jack Shouba’s presentation. Involved in the earlier efforts to save the Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester, IL, Jack’s extensive experience in identifying, photographing and restoring native plants is why he is a regular instructor at Morton Arboretum and has been instrumental in natural area restoration for the Campton Township Open Space Program, one of only 5 in the state. Shouba will focus on plants that are the greatest threats to native plant restoration.

    Conner Shaw is one of a kind in his enthusiasm and lifetime career commitment to raising native trees and shrubs from seed for the Illinois nursery industry. His Possibilities Place Nursery in Monee, IL is also an ecological haven for native insects and birds that depend on the native plants raised there. He readily shares his experience of how to get the results the landowner wants out of the native trees that thrive here.

    Trish Beckjord serves as a consultant for native plant use and is the Fox River Initiative Program Manager for the Conservation Foundation. Her presentation will help the homeowner that wants to use native plants but needs to incorporate them into a more formal design in communities that are only beginning to understand the value of native plantings

    What took thousands of years to stabilize after the last glaciation, ecosystems can be overcome in a manner of days or months with human’s inadvertent introduction of nonnative species of plants and animals. Campton Township was the first foci in Illinois of the emerald ash borer outbreak that in less than 10 years has killed every mature ash tree in the region. Without predators, competition, or disease pathogens, these invasive species thrive at the expense of all native life. The later part of the afternoon will focus on management methods needed to keep at bay these threats to a healthy environment.

      Ben Haberthur will join Jerome Johnson in speaking on management techniques. Haberthur has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, but it was the environmental devastation he saw as a Marine in Iraq that led him to environmental restoration. He is the Forest Preserve District of Kane County’s Director of Natural Resources. He will address the use of herbicides to control invasive species and Johnson will speak on the use of controlled burns and mechanical means of management. Johnson has developed the natural area restoration program at Garfield Farm Museum that includes the unplowed Mill Creek Prairie and Fen and the Garfield Harley Pond and Woods.

      Garfield Farm Museum is one of the pioneers in focusing on the three themes that most affected Illinois – namely history, farming and the environment. This National Register Historic Site is a historically intact former Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn being restored by donors and volunteers as an 1840s living history farm museum. Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road in Campton Hills, IL.  For reservations call 630 584-8485 or email