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23rd Annual Prairie, Woods, and Wetlands Management Seminar

    Garfield Farm Museum’s annual Prairie, Woodlands, and Wetlands Management Seminar to be held on Saturday, February 21, from 8 am - 4:30 pm brings together experts and prairie enthusiasts in a day filled with fascinating sessions on how to make Illinois’ climate, soil, and plants work for property owners. The seminar covers typical native plants found in the region, methods of raising them from garden borders to vast acreages, controlled burns, selecting trees that will enhance property values and how to save money and time.

        With a tighter economy and a need to rediscover real values that have long term impacts for the good of society and the environment, private property owners, public sector park employees, and natural area volunteers can best benefit from the years of experience these presenters offer.

    The morning starts with a discussion of how to research a property’s natural history, using library and map research, followed by native plant identification methods. The speakers then turn to specific use of native plants and trees in restorations to more formal or urban garden settings. Controlling invasive species through the use of controlled burns, mechanical, and chemical methods will be discussed in the afternoon. This is a particularly important topic since many property owners spend a great deal of time fighting aggressive species.

    The seminar will feature four speakers, Conner Shaw and Roy Diblik as well as Garfield’s own Jerome Johnson and John Engstrom. Garfield’s Natural Areas Manger, John Engstrom, makes his Prairie Management Seminar debut. John has worked with the St.Charles Township Park District and the Dundee Open Space Program, and is completing his first season with the museum as a valuable addition to the Garfield staff.

    Roy Diblik and his late business associate, Craig Sensor, founded Natural Gardens in St. Charles, IL with Diblik developing methods of growing native plants from seed. In 1991, Diblik established Northwind Perennial Farm in Springfield, WI providing native plant material, designs and installations for private and commercial customers. His credits include Millennium Park in Chicago to estates in Lake Forest, IL and Lake Geneva, WI. He is author of Roy Diblik's Small Perennial Gardens: The Know Maintenance Approach,

    Conner Shaw founded Possibility Place Nursery near Monee, IL. All the native trees Shaw sells are grown from seed collected from the wild, producing specimens that are well prepared for transplanting. His method produces a high number of roots that gives each tree a better chance for survival. Shaw’s knowledge of what conditions will cause native trees and shrubs to thrive makes this presentation valuable to all property owners.

    John Engstrom and Johnson will complete the session with a discussion of management methods to encourage and increase native plantings in woods, open or wet areas. Ways to control invasive species of plants that left alone will overtake any type of local ecosystem will be discussed. Controlled burns, herbicide use, weeding or cutting need to be integrated into any plan for the maximum impact. Engstrom will add his comments on the collection of seed for propagation.

    Garfield Farm Museum offers other great opportunities for the environmentally conscious such as natural area guided tours, apple tree grafting seminars, lectures on loss of genetic diversity, an heirloom garden show and more. Hands-on experience can be gained through Garfield Farm Museum’s prairie volunteer program where participants are welcome to assist with controlled burns, brush removal, seed collecting and planting throughout the year. Please ask for a calendar when calling for a reservation.

        There is a $50 fee for the seminar and lunch to be held at Garfield Farm Museum, five miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road. Handouts will be provided but participants should come prepared to take notes. Reservations can be made by calling (630) 584-8485 or email Garfield Farm Museum is a 370 acre historically intact former 1840s prairie farmstead and teamster inn being restored by donors and volunteers from 37 states as an 1840s working farm museum.

For more information about Garfield Farm send an e-mail message to: or call 630/584-8485.