The Prairie at Kankakee Sands

The prairie landscape has certainly changed over the last 200 years, from when the first settlers arrived.  Historically prairie ecosystems once covered 400 million acres of North America, but only 3% of remain today.  In Indiana, only 0.01% of the original 2 million acres of prairie exists today.  But the wind, the wind still blows, reminding of us of what once was, and what, with hope and time we can recreate again on a limited scale.

As the winds of 2011 blow past Kankakee Sands (site 53) this spring, there will be a change onsite too.  Construction is beginning on a new office and garage facility.  Additionally, there will be a more extensive outdoor information and meeting area for visitors.

South of the office along US 41, the landscape is also changing.  With the help of Ecologic, Inc. over 110 acres of wet prairie were reclaimed by removing the thousands of cottonwood trees that invaded the original prairie restoration planting.

Just like the wind, change can be hard, but change can be good.

Happy New Year 2011.

Guest blogger, Alyssa Nyberg, is the nursery manager at Kankakee Sands Native Plant nursery.  She has her MS degree from Indiana University in Environmental Science.  She’s been working at Kankakee Sands for 12 years.

The Kankakee Sands Project is a 7,600 acre prairie restoration project of The Nature Conservancy located in Newton County, Indiana.  The Nature Conservancy office is located roughly in the center of the property that is being restored, at 3294 N US 41.  The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.  For more information, visit our website at , stop by the visitor kiosk at the office, or call 219-285-2184.

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