What is Lincoln Marsh doing to restore the natural landscape?
What’s all this ‘smoke’ about restoration?
At the Wheaton Park District’s Lincoln Marsh Natural Area, we are not only here to help you enjoy and appreciate the many wonders of nature, we’re also working to preserve and restore the habitats that our native plants and animals need to thrive and survive.
Why is it important to restore native habitat and wildlife?
People often ask us, “Why can’t nature just take its course?” Human beings have always played a part in shaping the natural environment. Native Americans used to start prairie fires in order to obtain food or travel. The first settlers sliced through the prairie with steel plows and discovered the soil to be perfect for growing crops. On that same land today, we build houses, highways, shopping malls, and subdivisions, and our natural world has suffered a lot of stress in that process!
Prescribed Burns: A Prescription for Habitat Health
Fire and Habitat Health
In the Chicago region, fire is a natural and essential ingredient of healthy native ecosystems. Throughout history, lightning sparked natural fires, performing a “house cleaning” function for nature. Oak woodlands and prairies are adapted to fire and depend on it to maintain their unique character.
Fire helps local habitats thrive by:
- Releasing nutrients from burned plant materials.
- Helping seeds to grow.
- Opening the woodland floor to sunlight so that native wildflowers and plants can flourish.
Restoring a Natural Cycle
In an effort to restore the natural fire cycle, forest preserve districts and other agencies use controlled burns that are carefully watched and tended. Trained ecologists burn parts of the woods, wetlands, and prairies every few years to clear out weedy plants that choke out burr oaks and other native trees and wildflowers. The work is helping to bring back diverse communities of plants and […]
What can I do?
Explore the Outdoors!
By learning to love the natural world, you will be well-primed for taking care of it. Beyond this, you can become a “citizen scientist” by reading about and observing these natural areas, plants, and animals. The more you see, the better you can assist your local scientists and land managers.
Transform your backyard into a haven for local butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.
Visit the Conservation Foundation for information on how to transform your yard through their Conservation@Home Program. You’ll be amazed at how your own property can be transformed into a rich display of wildlife!
Below are some simple, everyday ways to contribute to a greener planet and save money while doing it!
- Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer.
- Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
- Turn off lights and televisions […]
Additional Online Resources
Where can I learn more about conservation and going green?
- Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
- The Conservation Foundation – View the Conservation Foundation volunteer advisory council’s list of the Best Places for Nature Rx (PDF)
- Chicago Wilderness
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources
- Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
- Illinois Audubon Society
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
- National Wetlands Inventory
- National Public Lands Day
- Earth911 Making Everyday Earth Day
- SCARCE: School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education
- Earth Hour