Happy Trails 18-Acre COD Prairie Preserves a Piece of Natural Landscape
Edman, Catherine, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Catherine Edman Daily Herald Staff Writer
They wore no uniforms with badges and pins, but the group trailing Lynda Randa - walking through prairie grass at eye-level - had the look of Scouts.
Grass seed heads were loosened from their stalks as inquisitive folks ran their hands over the silky stems. And when they all passed a pair of amorous grasshoppers following nature's alluring call in the twilight, there were a few embarrassed chuckles.
Regardless, everyone listened intently as Randa brought to life a time long past as the group snaked its way through the Russell Kirt Prairie at the College of DuPage.
Some people might think the wild, grassy area on COD's west side along Lambert Road in Glen Ellyn might just be an undeveloped parcel. In fact, it's an 18-acre prairie that's been nurtured by the school's instructors and students since 1984. It has become a well-established example of the what used to exist across this entire region.
"It's important just to preserve these plants, they have nowhere left in the landscape today," said Brian McQuaid, natural areas manager at the school.
Every other week this summer, instructors from the Glen Ellyn school led guided tours through the prairie explaining its history, what plants are flourishing, how prairies grow and survive, and why it's important to nurture such microsystems. …