Tallgrass Restoration, LLC
A Tallgrass LegacyAutumn News
October 2010 - Vol. 2 Iss. 4
Greetings!Tallgrass logo

Sad, but true, fall has officially arrived!  The burn season is about to begin and our crews are preparing for and anxiously awaiting the first burn of the season.  Don't miss the article from one of our employees on her First Burn!  We have several other articles that we hope you find of interest.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments and hope you enjoy reading this season's newsletter.  Again, send any comments, suggestions or thoughts to:

 - Your Friends
at Tallgrass

P.S. We're always up to something interesting here at
Tallgrass. Friend Us! on Facebook to get regular updates.
Client Profile: The Estates of Inverness Ridge
Prairie VillageThe Estates of Inverness Ridge is a 150-acre home development of which 80 acres are dedicated prairie, wetland, and woodland conservancies.

The Food Corner
Recipes! Check out Tracy's Treats for some great recipes.


Fall Burn Season is Here! 


As the weather turns from summer heat to winter chill, we at Tallgrass anxiously await our fall prescribed burn season.  


Dyer Lake
Peter Layton has opened his home in Dyer Lake, Wisconsin to the youth, staff, teams and volunteers who either live or work at the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago.
My First Burn
fr729I have worked in the offices of Tallgrass Group for over 2-1/2 years and heard many stories of controlled/prescribed burns and always wanted to go out and be part of one. Well, I had my chance this past spring.

Have Yourself a Green Christmas
Give way to waste this holiday season with some tips on how you can stay green.

Compliments to the Crew
fr729Two of Tallgrass' most important Business Principles are providing superior service to our clients and taking great pride in the professional quality of our work. We feel there is no better way to tout our success in these areas than to let our clients tell you themselves.

Plant I.D. Quiz
ID Quiz
Take a minute to test your ability to recognize native plants.  The quiz is now "online" - try it as many times as you wish.  Good Luck!



More Articles and Links 
The Plant Corner
Witch HazelThis edition of
The Plant Corner highlights the native species:
 - Witch Hazel

and the Invasive Species:
 - Common Tansy

Tim's Gardening Tips 



While composting typically is done during the growing season, if you have been procrastinating about starting a compost pile, fall is an ideal time to start one.



Owl Release 
A rehabilitated Great Horned Owl was released at Tallgrass Farm.

Green Tips
Ways to save money and natural resources this fall. 
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Don't be S.A.D. Learn how to recognize and combat symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Tallgrass Restoration Adds Wetland Delineations to its Menu of Ecological Services
Wetland delineations are often a critical part of any landowner's decision on land use as they establish boundaries between wetland and upland areas. Learn more about how tallgrass can help with your next development project.

Afton Hunt
fr729The weekend of October 2nd was the opener for the annual Wisconsin waterfowl hunt. A group of Tallgrass employees and friends spent the weekend enjoying the sights and sounds of the fall wetlands at a farm near Afton, Wisconsin.
Ask the Ecologist
Ask your friendly neighborhood Tallgrass Ecologist that eco-question you've always wanted to ask.
Client Profile 
by Tim Moritz. Photos by Tallgrass Staff.


Our clients are the backbone of our company and our existing partnerships help us to grow. To help maintain our consistently high level of client service and satisfaction, we will be highlighting a variety of client projects in this newsletter and editions to come. If you are a Tallgrass client, past or present, and would like to be featured in a future Client Profile, please contact: customer.relations@tallgrassrestoration.com.

The Estates of Inverness Ridge 

EstatesThe Estates of Inverness Ridge ("Estates") is a 150-acre home development started by Toll Brothers in 2001, of which 80 acres are dedicated prairie, wetland, and woodland conservancies.  Tallgrass took over stewardship of their prairie in 2009 and has since made a dramatic impact on the invasive species population.
The Estates is in the Poplar Creek Watershed, with Poplar Creek actually flowing through the development. Within the natural areas that Tallgrass maintains, there are great varieties of native grasses and forbs thriving. Each year new species continue to emerge; this summer we saw an abundance of butterfly weed.

Unlike many other homeowners associations, the Estates has expressed great interest in the natural area preservation project. Sixteen individual homeowners contributed funds to the Master Association in order to over-seed more than three acres of the prairie this past spring.  The Master Association continues its commitment to stewardship by working to increase the money allocated to the project.  They are also trying to increase the homeowners' awareness of how the project will help promote sustainability. They actively engage their residents in the project by keeping them informed about shrub removal and prescribed burning and by encouraging homeowners to plant their own native trees and plants within the conservancy. The Master Association maintains a very informative website which they use to promote the benefits of native plants and their project. You can check it out at:
"The homeowners at the Estates of Inverness Ridge feel honored to have responsibility for the care of our conservancy. It is a valuable asset to our neighborhood and the entire area; the Conservancy Committee and the homeowners who are dedicated to its preservation and enhancement have been very pleased to have the help and guidance of Tallgrass Restoration.
Everyone we've worked with at Tallgrass has been generous with their advice and is knowledgeable and professional. We at EIR look forward to working with Tallgrass in the future as partners in the stewardship of our conservancy." - Dorothy Nelson, EIR Conservancy Committee


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The Plant Corner

In each newsletter, our ecologists will highlight one native plant species and one invasive plant species found in our region.  

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Witch Hazel 
Photo by Tallgrass Staff

Witch Hazel is one example of a native tree that endures the cold of fall. While most species flower in early spring or summer, Witch Hazel flowers wait until after the leaves of autumn have fallen and temperatures are at or below freezing. Witch Hazel flowers are only slightly fragrant, but are covered in pollen to attract fall pollinators. It does this during this time of year in order to avoid competing with other plants for pollinators.

It is a tall several-stemmed tree with rounded obovate leaves that turn yellow. Later, spider-like, four-petal blossoms appear in their place offering a fragrant close to December.

The tree has long been cultivated for its leaves, twigs and bark for tea, astringents, lotions and external inflammation treatments. Myths held that a forked branch of Witch Hazel could be used to locate underground water. Moreover, cut branches can be brought indoors where their sweet smell can be enjoyed.

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Photo by Tallgrass Staff

Common Tansy, of the aster family, is a perennial native of Europe brought to the United States for medicinal and horticultural purposes. It grows up to five feet tall and spreads via an extensive, root system and profuse seed production. It especially likes ditch banks where water can quickly spread its seeds downstream.

Common Tansy flowers are fat-topped clusters of bright yellow, button-like discs which bloom from July through October. The stems are unbranched, hairy, woody and purplish near the base. Its alternating leaves are long, toothed, pinnately divided and quite aromatic when crushed. 

Common Tansy is rich in volatile oils.  Leaves of young plants are aromatic and the flowers may be used as a substitute for sage in cooking. The main volatile oil, called thujone, is a potent and bitter chemical which was often used in the past medicinally as a wash to treat roundworm, or internally to expel worms and aid digestion. However, it is not used much today due to its toxicity; it can cause convulsions and psychotic effects. A bunch hanging in a room is a traditional fly repellant.

Pulling or mowing has little effect on Common Tansy, except to reduce seed production. Most of its roots are near the surface, regenerating from root fragments and making infestation a risk of cultivation. Controlled burns in the spring, however, remove the dead vegetation and allow for easier target with herbicides. Horses and cows sometimes browse the tender young leaves of the Common Tansy, but they leave it alone as it matures. Common Tansy could be toxic to these animals in excess. Sheep and goats however, eat the plant with great enthusiasm.

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The Food Corner
Tracy's Treats

by Tracy Runice 


Fall is the time for Apples,

Pumpkins and Pears

Get inspired by some of my

favorite recipes with these

delicious fruits.



Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

Pie                                                       Streusel

1 lemon, juiced                                      ¼ c butter, softened or melted

2 lbs apples, large dice                           2 ½ tbls sugar

2/3 c sugar                                           2 tbls brown sugar

½ tsp cinnamon                                     ¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ginger                                          ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg                                        1 c flour

¼ c butter                                            

¼ c flour                                               Combine everything until crumbly and the butter is well blended.

½ tsp vanilla


Toss apples in lemon juice to prevent browning before they get to

the oven. Add sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and pie

mix until the apples are evenly coated in spices.


In a large saucepan, combine butter and apple mixture and cook

over medium low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 3-4

minutes. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer uncovered

until the apples are just soft, and most of the juice has evaporated,

15-20 more minutes.  When nearly done, add flour, mix well and

cook 1 minute more. Mix in the vanilla and remove from the heat.


Cool completely before filling prepared pie crust.


Bake at 425° for about 30 minutes. Add streusel topping and bake for 10 minutes more or until golden brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, whip cream or enjoy just as it is.  Mmmmm.


The apple filling can be made up to two days ahead. Or prepare the whole pie, tightly wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap and keep in your freezer for up to two months.  Cook frozen pie at 375° for approximately 1 ½ hours.


The Very Versitile PEAR

Pears, especially when from a local grower (Thank you, Gordon Millar!), are yummy on salads, meats and, of course, dessert.


Thinly sliced pears are delicious in a simple salad of endive or your favorite greens. You can add a creamy blue or feta cheese, a few pine nuts or sliced almonds, and top with a dash of vinaigrette to go from a simple lunch to a classy brunch.


Dress (to impress) Pork Tenderloin with a Simple Pear Sauce


2 tbls butter 
1 pear, peeled and sliced thin
¾ c Marsala wine 
2 tsp cornstarch 
¼  tsp nutmeg


Melt butter in saucepan. Add pear slices and sauté for 1 minute. In a separate bowl, mix wine, cornstarch until smooth; stir into saucepan. Add nutmeg.  Simmer, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until thickened. Spoon over tenderloin and serve.


Feed Your Sweet Tooth Pear Crisp


6 pears (about 2-1/2 pounds) peeled and thinly sliced

¼ c water, warm

1 lemon, juiced

2 c oatmeal

2 c flour

2 c brown sugar

2 tbls cinnamon

2 ½ sticks butter, melted


Combine pears, water and lemon juice in a baking pan. In another bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add in melted butter and stir until crumbly. Spread oat topping evenly over the fruit. Bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes or until brown and crisp.


Pumpkin Bread

2 c flourbread

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 ½ c sugar

¾ c oil

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 c pumpkin, fresh, finely shredded


Sift flour into a bowl. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, soda, salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sugar until creamy. Add oil and vanilla. Fold in pumpkin. Mix dry ingredients with wet until just combined, don't over mix. Pour into prepared loaf pans (buttered and floured) and bake at 325° for 75-90 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes then remove from pan to finish cooling.

Tracy Runice
Chef's Bio: Tracy Runice received her culinary training and degree from the world renowned Kendall College in Chicago.

Tim's Gardening Tips

by Tim Moritz

In last fall's newsletter, our gardening tips were about planning ahead in order to extend your growing season into the late fall and early winter.  This fall's tips have a common theme: planning ahead for spring and summer by beginning to compost this fall.

While composting typically is done during the growing season, if you have been procrastinating about starting a compost pile, fall can be an ideal time to start one.  There will be an abundance of yard waste in the form of leaves and spent garden plants to get your outdoor compost pile started.  If you do not want to undertake such a large project, the possibility of an indoor, self contained compost bin is also feasible to compost food waste.  There are several designs both in stores or online, fully assembled or build your own.  A few websites to start with are:

Photo by gardencompostingbins.com

Once you have the structure for the compost bin chosen, you need to decide where to locate it.  A spot with bare earth will allow earthworms that are in the soil to move into the compost.  Place a few inches of straw or twigs down first.  This will allow for drainage and will also help air to flow under and into the compost pile.  In the fall, since there is usually an overabundance, leaf material is great to use as a base.  If possible, using shredded leaves will yield a finished product much more quickly.  This can be done by running a lawnmower through a raked up pile of leaves or by using a small homeowner's size chipper.  Your grass clippings are also a great addition to the compost pile.

Photo by earth911.com

When placing new material into the compost bin, you want to always work in layers to speed up the process, as well as try to get the material to breakdown as uniformly as possible. On top of the layer of leaf material and grass clippings, spread a thin layer of soil and manure. The soil will introduce beneficial soil microbes that will give a boost to the decomposition process. The manure will feed these organisms and in turn speed up the whole process. Alternate between wet and dry layers; wet layers consist mostly of your food scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags. Dry layers consist of grass clippings, sticks and twigs, straw and leaves.

The next two steps, covering and turning, are also very important. Cover the top of your structure with a board or something which will keep excessive moisture out. The pile should be moist but excessive rain will soak your pile making it hard to turn. Periodically, turn the pile with a pitchfork to incorporate decomposed material with the newer material and also to aerate the pile. Leaving out this step will result in compaction, making it very difficult for some materials to break down.

Photo by 180degreefarm.org

If you get your compost set up early enough, it will begin the decomposition process and continue slowly throughout the winter.  You can still add food scraps to it all winter and in the spring it will continue breaking down.  Once the spring season warms up, you will be able to use your own compost!  Adding compost to your garden is a great way to introduce organic matter and nutrients back to the soil without the use of chemical fertilizers.  Your compost will undoubtedly be full of worms which will also help with aerating your garden soil.  At the same time, you will be recycling materials that would normally end up in a landfill.  The whole process of composting will be rewarding and give you a real sense of accomplishment!

Fall Burn Season is Here!
by Troy Showerman

As the weather turns from summer heat to winter chill, we at Tallgrass anxiously await our fall prescribed burn season.

Prescribed burning is a management tool for natural areas which mimics wildfires that our native prairies and woodlands have adapted to over millennia.  Fire and heat suppress woody vegetation which has allowed vast acreages of both tall and short grass prairie in the pre-settlement Midwest to flourish.  While today almost all those prairie acres have fallen prey to tilling, pavement, and turf grass, natural fire dependent ecosystems still exist throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

Unburned natural areas can quickly become choked with invasive trees and shrubs including, but not limited to, buckthorn, honeysuckle, dogwoods, sumac, and maples.  A periodic fire regime limits these unwanted species while promoting more desirable woody species such as oaks and hickories, not to mention the numerous grasses and wildflowers that fill our prairies and savannas.  The black earth left behind after a fire heats quicker in the spring which gives native species a jumpstart in growth over unburned areas.  Additionally, burning speeds up the nutrient cycling process and decreases the likelihood of wildfire.

Despite the importance (and fun!) of burning, planning prescribed burn is a complicated process.  A typical fall burn season may only produce five days of adequate weather.  Soil moisture, wind speed, air temperature, and relative humidity determine how well an area will burn, if at all.  On top of that, wind direction can become a major concern depending on what type of smoke sensitive targets are downwind from the burn area.
If you would like to learn more about prescription burning please contact one of our four burn bosses!

In Illinois:
Aaron Hocking  Aaron.Hocking@tallgrassrestoration.com
Troy Showerman  Troy.Showerman@tallgrassrestoration.com


In Wisconsin:
Chris Kaplan  Chris.Kaplan@tallgrassrestoration.com
Jordan Rowe  Jordan.Rowe@tallgrassrestoration.com

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Owl Release
by Chris Kaplan

OwlIn March, 2010 Dianne Moller from Hoo's Woods Raptor Education and Rehabilitation Center received a call regarding a two week old Great Horned Owl. An infant bird was discovered by the caring employees of Cygnus Business Media in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.   Because a nest was never found, Hoo's Woods placed the young owl in with an adult Great Horned Owl who fostered the bird at their Center.  "Cygie," as he was named by the employees, grew into a healthy two foot tall, three pound owl and was ready to be released this past summer.  On Tuesday, August 10th , Dianne and several employees of Cygnus Business Media joined Tallgrass Restoration staff to watch the release of the Great Horned Owl. The release sight, a 50 acre parcel of restored prairie owned by Peter Layton of Tallgrass Restoration is an ideal site as its mix of tall grass prairie, short grass prairie, oak savanna, and wet sedge meadow plant communities provides the necessary native nesting grounds for the birds.  Rehabilitated birds are no stranger to this parcel; two rehabilitated American Kestrels were released in the same location several years ago.

Tallgrass Restoration believes strongly in David and Dianne Moller's mission and is more than happy to supply a home for such magnificent creatures.

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Dyer Lake
by Georgia McGuire. Photo by Tallgrass staff. 

Dyer Lake    

Peter Layton has opened his home in Dyer Lake, Wisconsin to the youth, staff, teams and volunteers who either live or work at the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago. The Mercy Home Leadership All Stars began visiting Dyer Lake earlier this year and the kids and staff were able to enjoy some of the best that Wisconsin has to offer. They spent a day at an indoor water park, went skiing and bowling and saw a movie. The boys and girls of Mercy Home were rewarded with this trip because of their participation in the Leadership All Stars Program, which encourages youth to get involved in service work and giving back to their communities. Their visit to Dyer Lake was not only a reward to the kids for their service to the community, but also allowed them to experience generosity as well and know that they are not only cared for by their Mercy family, but by good and loving friends.

In January, the Sheil Home team held their staff retreat and were given a chance to reflect on their accomplishments with the youth at Mercy Home and also had a chance to enjoy each others' company. Dyer Lake is a beautiful piece of property no matter when you visit, but the snow made it a picture perfect weekend.

The volunteers of Mercy Home (see photo) later returned to hold both their opening and closing retreats at Dyer Lake and treasured the time that they spent connecting with one another and their experience of volunteering full time with the Mercy Home kids.

Peter Layton is glad that the Mercy Home staff and kids enjoyed Dyer Lake as much as he enjoyed sharing it with them.

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Green Tips
by Georgia McGuire 

Reasons for Trees
Fall is a good time to buy trees, shrubs and other plants because many nurseries offer discounts to clear out stock before winter.  Plus, with strategic planting, you can cut your energy bills.  In cold weather, a row of evergreens or low-crown shrubs planted as a windbreak can cut heating costs as much as 30 percent.  Distance from the house should be two to five times the plants' mature heights.  Bushes and shrubs placed one to three feet from your house will act as insulation.

A six foot sapling begins shading windows right away, lowering cooling costs in summer.  Trees tall enough to shade the roof are big cost savers-the U.S. Forest Service estimates that three 25-footers shading an energy-efficient house in the Southwest can reduce summer cooling costs by about 25 percent.  You also can save by planting shrubs to shade your air-conditioning unit. 

Save Energy
Keeping your fridge too cold wastes energy.  Keep it between 37°F and 40°F and freezers at 5°F.

Save Water
If your bathroom fixtures were installed before 1992, replacing your toilet with a more efficient one could save thousands of gallons of water every year.

Reduce Waste
More than 80% of recyclable bottles end up in landfills each year.  Reduce bottle waste and filter your tap water.

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My First Burn!
by Georgia McGuire. Photo by Tallgrass staff. 
I have worked in the offices of Tallgrass Group for over 2-1/2 years and heard many stories of controlled/prescribed burns and always wanted to go out and be part of one. Well, I had my chance this past spring. My friend Karen and I drove to Tallgrass Restoration in Milton, Wisconsin and the fun began. I was outfitted with a yellow fireproof suit and my ankles were wrapped with duct tape.

The crew was given instructions on procedures, including safety precautions and the proper operation of equipment. We all were given maps of the burn area and portable radios for constant communication. For our first assignment, both Karen and I were given rakes to help control the firebreak. A firebreak acts as a barrier to slow or stop the progress of a burn. We were doing our best to keep the flames in the designated fire area. Karen was then given a 10 gallon tank of water strapped on her back. She patrolled the edges for any stray flames and doused any unwanted sparks. I was given a drip torch to ignite small fires. Small fires are started along the firebreak and are designed to burn back towards the main fire. Larger fires are started at the edge of the property and eventually meet. It was wild to see how the flames started small and grew into an inferno. Many small animals, such as mice flee from the fire. I sure felt safer having my ankles duct taped! It was amazing to see the aftermath of a burn. The area looked desolate and completely charred. It was such an eerie feeling. A week or two later everything was green. The burn did it's job.

The burn boss has to begin his preparations long before the day of the burn.  He makes sure all equipment is in working order and safe to use; he not only has to secure a crew and obtain any necessary permits, but he also needs to alert the local fire department and the residents in the area.  Weather needs to be monitored to see the wind speed and direction.  The burn boss has a lot of responsibility to keep both the workers and the area safe.   

What an experience!   I never realized what hard work it was to be part of a controlled burn and all the preparations necessary to make it successful.  I have a new found respect for all those who plan and participate in a prescribed/controlled burn.  Now when I'm driving on a highway and I see the orange signs announcing a prescribed burn I smile and remember My First Burn - one I won't forget anytime soon.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder
by Tracy Runice 


Does the change from summer to fall leave you feeling tired, low and out of energy? You may know this feeling as the winter blues, but its clinical name is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.  SAD is a form of depression that often sets in around the fall and winter months. The depression is thought to be related to ambient light, body temperature and hormone regulation, and with shorter days and less frequent exposure to sun shine, people can start developing symptoms: lack of energy, social withdrawal, mood swings, increased sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness, decreased interest in work and other activities and carbohydrate cravings. If you suffer annually from SAD, you don't have to try to just tough it out again this year. Try some of these remedies to help sooth your mood.


  • Invest in full-spectrum light bulbs for your home and office. These produce light similar to that of natural sunlight.
  • Try to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes outdoors during the daylight hours.
  • Eat oatmeal! Oats are great for mood swings, nerves, and depression.
  • Aromatherapy is a wonderful ally for autumn depression. Citrus fruit oils have wonderfully sunny, brightening scents. Try sweet orange, lavender, grapefruit, lime, rosemary and/or jasmine essential oils.   Add a couple drops to a tissue and inhale, 8-10 drops to a hot bath, or 15 drops blended with carrier oil for a massage, and your mood will improve. 
  • Get plenty of exercise, rest, fluids, and mineral-rich foods. This time of the year you will find apples, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, potatoes, pears and oranges all in season and all very nutritional.
  • Practice smiling - research shows it really does help us to feel more cheerful.
  • Dress in warm, bright colors and surround yourself with pictures of sunny, colorful scenes.



Did you know An Employee Assistance Program ("EAP") is available to all Tallgrass employees and members of their household? The EAP provides counseling, work-life balance and legal/finance solutions at no cost, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls remain confidential. For more information, Employees may pick up a Workplace Solutions information booklet at any Tallgrass office.


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Have Yourself a Green Christmas 

by:  Tracy Runice


While Christmas is a wonderful time of year, full of ritual and tradition, it is also an incredibly wasteful time.  In her book, "A Greener Christmas", Sheherazade Goldsmith points out "Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are now widely recognized as the two most polluting days of the year: the equivalent of three weeks of carbon dioxide emissions and three billion tons of extra garbage are generated worldwide over this short period."


Unfortunately the commercial reality of Christmas is not what it once was. The day has become symbolic for buying products of no real-use, which are not designed to last, and despite how much pollution is generated and how high production costs go with their creation, they provide only a brief thrill in our now very throw-away culture.


But your holiday doesn't have to give way to such wasteful trends. You can make your impact on the world as a holiday time consumer a positive one. Here are some creative ideas to consider which will significantly reduce your carbon footprint:


  • Save the plain brown paper commonly used to pack items sent in the mail for Christmas wrap. Let your children decorate it and the one-of-a-kind wrap looks great at a price that's right.
  • Make cards and tags out of scrap paper, old cards, leaves, berries and other items found in nature.
  • Stuff potpourri stockings and herbal tea sachets using a mixture of natural minerals, aromatic spices and dried fruit.
  • Create your own gifts such as lip balm, massage oil and foot scrub using all natural and organic materials found locally.
  • Give food such as cookies, cakes, bars, breads, pies and the like. Nothing says love like sweets to share.
  • Just be creative. A gift that shows obvious care and attention went into it will be more valuable than any trinket from the store.


Happy Holidays! 

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Tallgrass Restoration Adds Wetland Delineations to its Menu of Ecological Services
by:  Clare Kralovec

Wetland delineations are often a critical part of any landowner's decision on land use.  Wetlands play a critical role in our ecosystem and provide valuable services such as cleaning up polluted water before it reaches lakes, streams or ground water, storing floodwater, providing habitat, protecting shorelines, providing open space and sometimes recharging ground water. 

Wisconsin has lost about 50% and Illinois has lost about 90% of its wetlands in the last 300 years. Recognizing the potential for continued or accelerated degradation of the nation's waters, the United States Congress enacted the Clean Water Act ("Act").  Under the Act, excavating or placement of any material in low areas or wetlands requires approval by regulatory agencies.  If you are planning a development project, you must know precisely the boundaries of wetlands on the property as determined through procedures specified in state and federal rules.  A wetland delineation establishes the boundary between wetlands and uplands (or non-wetlands) by assessing whether the characteristics of wetlands (e.g. vegetation, soil and hydrology), are present on the site.   A wetland professional is generally required to make the boundary determination. 

Tallgrass Restoration can now provide that service for you.  It has experienced wetland professionals on staff at both the Illinois and Wisconsin offices who can undertake wetland delineations for you so that you can make important decisions about your property.  Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about wetland delineations. 


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Compliments to the Crew


Two of Tallgrass' most important Business Principles are providing superior service to our clients and taking great pride in the professional quality of our work. We feel there is no better way to tout our success in these areas than to let our clients tell you themselves.


"Tallgrass Folks,


I recently had your company perform a controlled Burn on my Prairie lot in Janesville. I have attached a few pictures I took last night at dusk. 


I have to say the prairie looks fantastic! The Black-eyed Susan and Purple Coneflowers have never looked better! In fact I would conservatively say the flower population on the 8 year established prairie is up 1000%. In addition, there is an entirely new population of grasses and flowers who's names I will now have to learn.  We are thrilled with the results! Just thought you'd like to know.



Joshua G.

Janesville, WI"



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Afton Hunt
by Chris Kaplan. 


The weekend of October 2nd was the opener for the annual Wisconsin waterfowl hunt. A group of Tallgrass employees and friends spent the weekend enjoying the sights and sounds of the fall wetlands at a farm near Afton, Wisconsin. The property, owned by Peter Layton, boasts over one mile of frontage along the Rock River consisting of mature flood plain forest, six open water ponds created for wildlife habitat, and approximately 60 acres of restored tallgrass prairie. In addition to the bountiful waterfowl population, the property provides habitat for whitetail deer, coyote, red fox, mink, beaver, and other mammals, songbirds, raptors, shorebirds, reptiles and amphibians. Clarence Kaplan, an avid birdwatcher, identified over 25 species during his time spent afield including: Bluebird, Mourning Dove, Bald Eagle, Goldfinch, Barred Owl, Yellow Rump Warbler, Wood Duck, Cardinal, Red Tail Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Red Wing Blackbird, Blue Heron, Green Heron, Robin, Song Sparrow, Blue Jay, Great White Egret, Cedar Wax Wing, Turkey Vulture, Phoebe, Mallard, Chickadee, Canada Goose, American White Pelican, and Kingfisher.


The group, having never hunted the property for waterfowl, had a thing or two to learn about where the ducks liked to hang out and what their morning and evening flight patterns were.  Quite often, the words "I should have set up 50 yards to the west", "I should have stayed where I was", "Whoa! Where did that one come from?" or "How did I miss that one?" were uttered.  But despite several missed opportunities, the group of hunters bagged seven ducks (four Wood Ducks, two Mallards, and one Wigeon).  The Wigeon was the highlight of the hunt which marked the first duck of its kind harvested by Jacob Lash (15 years of age). The excitement and memory of that moment will surely last his lifetime as well as that of his proud father's who looked on.  All told, the weekend together, camping out and enjoying nature's bounty, was a treasure that will not soon be forgotten.



The campsite.




Chris Kaplan, Project Manager at Tallgrass Restoration and his father Clarence holding up the morning's harvest, two drake mallards and a drake Wood Duck.




Cleaning the Harvest.




Back at Camp for the Evening
(from left to right) Chris Kaplan, Peter Andre, Brian Lash, Clarence Kaplan, and Jacob Lash.


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Click HERE for Ask the Ecologist!
Tallgrass Announcements

Tallgrass Anniversaries:

August - Chris Kaplan (5 yrs), Troy Showerman (4), Cindy Stagno (2)
October - Willie Bridgeman (5), Tim Moritz (3)

Upcoming Events:


November 3, 2010

Career Fair at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois


November 4, 2010

Chicago Wilderness Congress

The Forum, University of Illinois at Chicago



January 27 & 28, 2011

Soaring to New Heights Conference, booth # 1420

By the Illinois Association of Park Districts, Hilton Chicago



January 27 & 28, 2011

Mid-American Horticultural Trade Show

Tallgrass' very own MARK MICEK will be a guest speaker at the event

Navy Pier, Chicago



January 28 & 29, 2011

29th Annual Conference and Trade Show

By Community Associations Institute, Arlington Park Racetrack, Arlington Heights, Illinois



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More About Tallgrass
Tallgrass Core Values #9, 10 

9. The dedication of our people to the firm and the intense effort they give their jobs are greater than one finds in most other organizations. We think that this is an important part of our success.

10. We consider size an asset that we try hard to optimize. We want to be big enough to undertake the largest project that any of our clients could contemplate, yet small enough to maintain the loyalty, the intimacy and the teamwork that we all treasure and that contribute greatly to our success.


Tallgrass Contact Information




Project Ecologists


Willie Bridgeman


Doug DeWitt


Mark Micek


Troy Showerman






Project Ecologists


Chris Kaplan


Jordan Rowe




Illinois and Wisconsin


Ron Adams, President


Tracy Runice - Customer Service, General Information, Bonding, Compliance or Insurance 




Illinois Office

Wisconsin Office

2221 Hammond Drive

3129 E. County Road N

Schaumburg, IL 60173-3813

Milton, WI 53563

Phone: (847) 925-9830

Phone: (608) 531-1768

Fax: (847) 925-9840

Fax: (608) 551 -2227


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Thanks for reading the autumn issue of A Tallgrass Legacy. Look for our winter issue in January!
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Tallgrass Restoration is a subsidiary of Tallgrass Group, a company that integrates land and water stewardship focusing on native landscapes and other ecological solutions including landscape design, conservation development, and wetland banking initiatives.