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JUNE 25 Prairie & Savanna Walk

What: Prairie Walk with John Engstrom
When: Saturday June 25th at 10 am
Who: Garfield Farm Museum
Fee: $6 per person
Where: for GPS only: 3N016 Garfield Road Campton Hills, IL 60175 Contact: 630 584-8485 or

    On Saturday June 25th at 10 am, John Engstrom, Natural Areas Manager of Garfield Farm Museum will give a guided tour of the prairie and savanna at Garfield Farm Museum.

    With the full arrival of summer, the native plants of Northern Illinois are beginning to express their lush, robust growth of an exceptionally most spring. With a good moisture regime through the summer, many of the tallest plants may reach their maximum heights before summer's end.

     The many noticeable pools of water in farmer's fields reflect the fact that much of Illinois prairies were seasonally wet. Only with the advent of tiling fields after the Civil War, did wet areas that had not been broken in the first 30-40 years of settlement, finally fall to sharp ploughshares. Farmers would dig trenches leading from the nearest creek to wet field areas and lay clay tile end to end and reburied to create a drainage line. This dried out marshes and wet prairies so they could be cultivated in the spring and harvested in the fall. Only during heavy or sustained rain fall does the evidence of once large wet areas reappear in spite of extensive modern plastic tiling of farm fields today.

    John Engstrom has been working for the museum's Campton Historic Agricultural Lands, its nonprofit land preservation agency, for 3 years. He has been battling invasive species of plants like European buckthorn and false chervil which are the greatest threats to CHAL's natural areas, the Mill Creek Prairie and Savanna and the Garfield Harley Ephemeral Pond and Woods. He will point out both the challenges and successes in these effort while showing some of the over 125 native species that can be found at the museum.

    The natural features of Garfield Farm Museum are a vital key to understanding how farming developed here as part of the overall history of America's development. The deep roots of the fire, winter, and drought resistance plants created an exceptionally rich soil for food production.  As a continent settled by colonists seeking the unheard of promise of land ownership, democracy was ultimately chosen to guarantee the rights to own land. Farming colonists founded a nation of farms that today is our source of food and the roots from which of our freedoms grew.

     Attendees should wear long legged pants and good walking/hiking shoes. Lighter colored clothing attracts fewer mosquitoes and hats for sun are suggested. The walk is $6 and will continue until noon. Reservations are required by calling 630 584-8485 or e-mail Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva, IL off Illinois Rt. 38 on Garfield Road in Campton Hills, IL.

     Garfield Farm Museum is the only 374 acre historically intact former 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn being restored as an 1840s working farm by donors and volunteers from 37 states and over 3000 households. Over $8 million of frugally invested donations have been spent to date and $3 million is being raised to completely restore the 24 structures found at the  Timothy Garfield's 1840s farm and his 2nd youngest son's (Edward Garfield) 1859 farmstead. Preserving the farm and its history and environment offers an unparalleled laboratory for teaching lessons learned to the young and future generations.

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