Natural Areas Restoration 

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

This photo of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Elwood provides a good example of what the Main Campus will look like in three to five years after the restoration is complete.

 

Connections Fall 2010 article: Restoration Project Brings Original Landscape Back to JJC (PDF)

A project that will dramatically alter the look of the Main Campus by restoring its natural areas to their pre-settlement state continues this month.

The three year restoration project, which began in January, received approval at the December Board of Trustees meeting, will ultimately clear out non-native plant species and return 65 acres to their original, pre-1820s state.

"Like the Master Plan, the ecological restoration project is one of campus renewal after decades of neglect," Andy Neill, natural sciences professor, said. "While the initial clearing will be shocking, it will be restored to a much higher quality native plant community that will be absolutely knock-out gorgeous once it starts to become established in three to five years."

According to the college's Natural Sciences Department, the ecosystems on the Main Campus are remnants of a vast wilderness of tallgrass prairie and forest. Currently, much of the natural areas on campus are choked with non-native species like European buckthorn and Hawthorne trees, which produce dense shade and prohibit native plant species.

Project manager Rick Lyman said the first thing people on campus will notice is the open space created from clearing the invasive buckthorn and Hawthorne trees.

"At first it may even appear unsightly, but this is a requirement prior to reintroducing natural trees, shrubs, perennials, etc.," he said. "This is a time-consuming process, and the new species planted will need time to mature and bring back the natural beautification. The added benefit is that during the process, this project can be used as an educational tool allowing students to observe the restoration process."

The total restoration process could take up to seven years by the time areas are cleared and natural species are introduced and begin to take over.

Lyman added that the project should not have a direct construction impact on the campus community like typical construction projects around campus, since the majority of the work is removed from campus population.

Photo Gallery

These photos, taken between Feb. 5 and March 5, show the areas around the J-Building parking lots, which have been involved in planned burns to clear the non-native species growing there.

Click on a photo below to view a larger image.

Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on March 5, these photos show the the controlled burns in the natural areas surrounding the J- and T-Buildings.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on Feb. 5, these photos show the areas around the J-Building parking lots, which have been involved in planned burns to clear the non-native species growing there.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on Feb. 5, these photos show the areas around the J-Building parking lots, which have been involved in planned burns to clear the non-native species growing there.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on Feb. 5, these photos show the areas around the J-Building parking lots, which have been involved in planned burns to clear the non-native species growing there.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on Feb. 5, these photos show the areas around the J-Building parking lots, which have been involved in planned burns to clear the non-native species growing there.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
Taken on Feb. 5, these photos show the areas around the J-Building parking lots, which have been involved in planned burns to clear the non-native species growing there.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
This photo of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Elwood provides a good example of what the Main Campus will look like in three to five years after the restoration is complete.
Highslide JS
Natural Areas Restoration
This photo of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Elwood provides a good example of what the Main Campus will look like in three to five years after the restoration is complete.

© 2012 Joliet Junior College

Joliet Junior College
1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet, IL 60431-8938
Phone: (815) 729-9020