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Reserve Now for 32nd Annual Native Plants & Natural Area Management Seminar

  CAMPTON HILLS, IL     Reservations for Garfield Farm Museum’s 32nd annual Natural Area Management Seminar to be held on Saturday, February 25th 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.
      Jack Shouba, Conner Shaw, Patrick Chess 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.
      Where images of forest preserves and parks once only meant picnic tables and ball fields in a pastoral setting, large acreages are being acquired and planted in native plants calling for new specialists on these organizations’ staff. The forest preserves of northern Illinois have all put incredible time and effort into native plant restoration in the last 40 years. Kane County Forest Preserve’s restoration ecologist Patrick Chess will present methods and techniques for working with seed to get the best results in establishing a prairie garden or a prairie landscape. From finding seed, treating seed with the right climate conditions before planting, and coming up with the right mix for the desired results are just some of the topics Chess will cover.

       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.

              Garfield Farm Museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary of its founding and is one of the pioneers in focusing on the three themes that most affected Illinois – namely history, farming, and the environment. 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