We went to a virgin prairie remnant in south suburban Chicago and talked with Susanne Masi about the Plants of Concern project. Susanne and her research associates work with a team of dedicated volunteers to monitor the Chicago Wilderness region’s rarest plants, assess trends in their populations, and provide important data used to conserve our rapidly declining floral heritage.
Plants of Concern is coordinated by the Chicago Botanic Garden, having strong partnerships with local, state, federal and non-profit agencies. Currently, this project is funded through a grant program supported by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, in support of Chicago Wilderness. USFWS and USFS grants of federal monies are administered by the Illinois Conservation Foundation & Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie–USDA Forest Service.
Conservation scientist Jeremie Fant tells us about his attempt to restore Pitcher’s thistle to its native habitat. He and his team are studying the plant and its DNA to learn more about rare plant restoration and how to make it more successful.
Crews have started planting the Green Roof Garden! Emily Shelton, the garden’s horticulturist, shows us around the two 8,000-square-foot gardens and tells us about some of the plants they will be evaluating.
Join us for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Plant Science Center with Bill Brown, the Garden’s vice president of facilities and planning. The building was designed using materials and systems to earn a gold LEED rating for sustainable design from the U.S. Green Building Council. Bill will tell us what that means for the Garden and how he and his team made it happen.
Here at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Dr. Jim Ault has developed and introduced many plants, including a series of coneflowers: Orange, Mango, and Pixie Meadowbrite. Jim works with plants that are native to the Midwest and are adapted to this environment, creating new plants that can enhance a primarily native garden. We talked with him about some of the coneflowers he is looking to introduce in the next few years, and how he goes about the breeding process.