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.