2016 Lecture Series at Midewin Underway

The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in southern Will County, about 50 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, is the largest tallgrass prairie ecological restoration project east of the Mississippi River, and one of the great open space resources / biodiversity preserves in the greater Chicago region. Midewin sign

Each winter, the Visitor’s Center at Midewin hosts a lecture series on conservation, ecology, and the natural and cultural history of this 19,000-acre prairie, wetland, savanna, and woodland complex between Joliet and Wilmington. These presentations are free and open to the general public.

The 2016 lecture series is underway! See below for the dates and descriptions of upcoming presentations, which take place inside Midewin’s Welcome Center on Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM. Doors open at 6:30 PM with light refreshments provided by The Midewin Alliance.

Midewin asks that you please RSVP by calling 815-423-6370 or emailing  Midewin_RSVP@fs.fed.us.

Winter Wildlife on the Prairie
Wendy Tresouthick, Environmental Education Specialist, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

On Thursday, February 11, join Wendy Tresouthick to discover several Illinois wildlife species on the prairie and the unique winter survival strategies they implement. How can frogs survive being frozen stiff? Are there really birds that hibernate? Does snow help or hinder the survival of wildlife in the winter? We’ll answer these questions and more in a fun and interactive way.

“Privies, Privies, Everywhere”: An Historical Archaeologist ponders Three Decades of Privy Excavations in Illinois
Floyd Mansberger, Archaeologist, Fever River Research

Join Floyd Mansberger on Thursday, February 25 to learn how privies (or more appropriately “privy pits’) are one of the more common feature types encountered by historical archaeologists in Illinois. These pits are “time capsules” that represent the subsurface remains of the ubiquitous “outhouse,” which was once associated with almost every nineteenth and early twentieth century site occupied by humans for any length of time. These pits often contain a large number (and great variety) of relatively whole and/or restorable artifacts which have been deposited over a relatively short period of time. These artifacts represent a unique view of the changing quality of life of the early residents of that site. This presentation will discuss the value of the scientific investigation of privy pits and will look specifically at a selection of privy pits excavated by Fever River Research over the years.

Save the following Thursday evenings for these March and April lectures, and click here for the full 2016 Lecture Series (pdf).

  • March 10, “The Rocks and Rolls of Midewin Tallgrass Prairie,” presented by Volunteer Interpreter Keith Graham
  • March 24, “Amphibians and Reptiles of the Tallgrass Prairie,” presented by naturalist Kevin Luby
  • April 7, “National Parks and America’s Railroads,” presented by the Glenwood Railroad Museum’s Pat Thrasher
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