Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It Takes A Village

Hello everyone,

Here are ten photos from the "prairie burn" which we conducted yesterday at the farm.  The ten of us burned three plots of prairie grasses and forbes that were planted at the farm ten years ago.  A great way to spend a gorgeous spring day!

The burn was at Angelic Organics, the organic and biodynamic CSA farm in Rockford.  It was led by Stuart Goldman, a naturalist from the Cook County Forest Preserve, Laurel Ross, a botanist from the Field Museum, and John Diversey, a long-standing supporter of the farm, who planted and maintains the prairie grass plots as another excuse to be outdoors! The Tai Chi Center-Sustainable Return (the environmental arm of Elizabeth Wenscott's tai chi school), acted a partner and supplied us, the volunteer bodies: Estrella Hirsch, Sas Stark, my 21 year-old daughter, her friend Charles Phillips, and myself. Lori Diversey and the family dogs, Abbey and Bernie provided moral support and some great cookies!  Elizabeth documented the event on using video and taking many photographs.  These will appear on her website at a later date at: http://www.taichicenter-chicago.com/sustainable_return.html

Prairie Restoration - Controlled Burn
The plants and animals of the prairie ecosystem are adapted to fire and thrive within it as part of their life cycle,  The above-ground parts of grasses die every fall, creating thatch that keeps the ground cool and moist.
But in spring, plants need light and heat,  Fire recycles nutrients from the thatch to the soil, so other plants can use them.  In the spring, fire-blackened soil warms quickly, which helps plants get an early start.

Lisa Hish