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Preserving Illinois Prairies
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WTVP Premieres Preserving Illinois Prairies on June 4

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An Illinois Prairie

WTVP’s newest documentary on the natural history of Central Illinois, Preserving Illinois Prairies, will premiere June 4 at 7 p.m. on WTVP HD 47.1.

Preserving Illinois Prairies takes viewers on a geological journey that begins more than 8,000 years ago when changing weather patterns and glacial forces shaped a magnificent, rolling landscape that thrived for thousands of years. When European settlers arrived, there were more than 22 million acres of Illinois prairie. All but a few thousand acres had been drained and cultivated or urbanized by 1900.

Filmed in spring and summer 2019 at locations across the state, this new documentary explores the natural forces that created the different types of prairies once found in Illinois, the complex bio-systems that exist above and below the rich black soil, and wildlife such as bees, birds and monarch butterflies. As the title suggests, Preserving Illinois Prairies also looks at pockets of natural prairie that survive (remnant prairies) and the mostly volunteer work to reclaim and reconstruct prairies for future generations to study and enjoy.

Prairie Burn

“Locally produced content like Preserving Illinois Prairies is one more example of what sets WTVP apart on the local media landscape,” said President and CEO Lesley Matuszak. “No other regional television outlet takes the time to produce this type of long-form documentaries. They are an invaluable record of our natural history and can be excellent educational resources.”

Preserving Illinois Prairies is produced by WTVP Station Manager and Executive Producer, William Baker, and At Issue host, H Wayne Wilson, written and narrated by H Wayne Wilson, with cinematography and editing by WTVP Senior Producer/Director, Todd Pilon. The production was made possible by the Backlund Foundation.

Preserving Illinois Prairies joins numerous other local documentaries produced by WTVP, including programs on the Illinois River, Peoria Park District, Lydia Bradley, Peoria Players, the Sinking of the Columbiaand more.


Broadcast Underwriters

The following companies invested in the broadcast of this local program:

Prairie Rivers Network and Sankoty Lakes

About WTVP

WTVP’s mission is to enrich our community in engaging and relevant ways using public media and outreach efforts. The station is an essential source for education, scientific, entertainment, and cultural content that connects Central Illinois on a local and world level. Generous membership donations and business underwriting are what make this mission and vision possible. An investment in WTVP is an investment in our community. Learn more at or call 309-677-4747.

Preserving Illinois Prairies

Preserving Illinois Prairies | Trailer

Rating: TV-G

Take viewers on a geological journey that begins more than 8,000 years ago