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Photo of Monarch Butterfly on a Purple Flower | Preserving Illinois Prairies, A WTVP Documentary

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.

Program Sponsor

Backlund Charitable Trust

This program was made possible in part by the Backlund Charitable Trust, established to educate and create awareness of environmental issues.