Creating Quality Native Prairie in the Midwest and East


Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 7:00pm to Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 6:45pm




Unitarian Church Annex, Buffalo St., 2nd floor


Hal Gardner


We think of the central plains when “prairie” is mentioned. Some natural prairies are found in the East, especially in mountain openings, wetlands, and barrens. With seasonal flowering from April to October (peaking in July and August), prairie ecosystems attract an array of wildlife: insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Hal Gardner started with prairie restoration in the Peoria area of Illinois, an area with great diversity of prairie types ranging from level black loam, hillsides, gravel, and sand eco-systems. In the late 70’s Gardner organized a work crew called the "Prairie Dawgs," who labored to restore prairie in Jubilee State Park, several IL Nature Preserves, and private property. In 1991 Gardner and his wife, Cheryl, purchased a half-mile of railroad right-of-way containing some original black loam prairie. With intensive restoration effort, the property became designated as an official IL Nature Preserve named the "Brimfield Railroad Nature Preserve," and was recently given to the Peoria Audubon Society to manage in perpetuity. The Gardners now live on a 70-acre farm in south-central PA, where about 25 acres have been converted to prairie (~ 250 native species). Growing prairie in the Eastern US is relatively easy, but not fool-proof. Come hear first hand experience in how it is done