Tallgrass Restoration
A Tallgrass LegacyAutumn News
Vol. 3 Iss. 4
Greetings!Tallgrass logo

Autumn Leaves!  What is more beautiful than the leaves on your trees changing colors in the Fall?  If you haven't already, now is the time to take that Sunday drive with the family and enjoy this time of the year.  Have a picnic! After raking the leaves, make a pile and jump in.  Enjoy this time of year because before you know it, the snow will begin falling and the temperatures will drop.  Hope you enjoy our new look - both in the newsletter and on our website!  Drop us a line and share your comments and suggestions with us.  Don't hesitate to call Tallgrass if we can be of help with any of your restoration needs.  Feel free to visit our website at www.tallgrassrestoration.com to view some of the services we offer. 

Hope you enjoy our autumn newsletter and as always, 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.
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TALLGRASS GETS A NEW LOOK!!! 

 

Tallgrass website

Take a minute to view Tallgrass' new website. We've added several new features, articles and links and we hope that you'll make some time to browse around and find out what Tallgrass can do to help with your restoration needs.

             

TALLGRASS RESTORATION ASSISTS EAGLE SCOUTS IN A LOCAL RESTORATION PROJECT 
 
scouts2Two Boy Scouts from Elkhorn, Wisconsin, working in coordination with Mark Steinfest, a Civil Engineering Technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, are restoring four flood distressed properties on Silver Lake and North Lake in Walworth County.
 
Tallgrass Restoration Project Receives Chicago Wilderness Award
 
Valley Lakes Community Association of Roundwilderness award Lake received the Conservation and National Landscaping Award from Chicago Wilderness and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Government Programs 
 
The goal of the Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) is to help private landowners create and manage habitat for species that are rare or declining by providing management advice, assistance with management plans, and cost-share funding to individuals and organizations proposing projects on private lands throughout the state.

More...

Hunting Poem

 
hunt

 

Rob Adams, one of Tallgrass' seasonal workers, wrote a poem and with the hunting season upon us, we thought it was the appropriate time to print it. Thanks Rob.

 

More... 

 

Tracy's Treats
chili small 2 
Chili is a delicious choice for fall and for this edition of Tracy's Treats, I thought I would share one of my recipes. I like to participate in the annual Chilimania Chili Cook Off in Edgerton, Wisconsin, and this is the recipe I entered this year. 

 

More... 

The Plant Corner
 
Rattle1This edition of The Plant Corner highlights the native species:
 - Rattlesnake Master

and the Invasive Species:
 - Japanese knotwood

MEDICINAL PLANTS ech

  

In our last issue we focused on "Edible Plants," and decided to share some information on certain plants that have been used for medicinal purposes.
            

More...                      

 

FALL GARDENING TIPS:


Here are a few gardening tips to think about tackling before the cold weather hits. 

 

Prairie 101 - How to recognize a prairie...
 
Have you ever wondered if the field you see on the side of a road is a prairie or just a field of weeds?  Here are a few clues that will help you distinguish a prairie.
 

Plant I.D. Quiz
 

quiz3Take 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... 

Ask the Ecologist
 
Ask your friendly neighborhood Tallgrass Ecologist that eco-question you've always wanted to ask.
 
More... 
 
More Articles and Links 
 
 

The Plant Corner

 

In each newsletter, we will highlight one native plant species and one invasive plant species found in our region.Rattle1  


Native
Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
  
Rattlesnake Master is a pretty and distinctive native plant with the leaves of a yucca and interesting "golf ball" type flowers.  It grows from 2-5 feet high with round flower heads at the top of a branching stalk.  The flower heads are small - from to 1 inch in diameter. Rattlesnake Master is a host plant for Swallowtail butterfly larvae.  It thrives in average, well-drained soil in full sun. Native Americans brewed a tea from the root as an antidote to rattlesnake venom.

 

 

 

 







 


 

 

Invasive
Japanese knotwood (Fallopia japonica)
 
  Knot  

 

Like so many other invasive species, Japanese knotwood, a native of Asia and Japan, was introduced in the United States in the 1800s for ornamental use.  The shrub like plant which sports small white flowers in July and August was once widely planted.  It is now a dangerously intractable plant.  Japanese knotwood is a perennial that grows 5-10 feet in height and has an extensive network of underground rhizomes which can reach 6 feet deep and up to 60 feet long.  They can become strong enough to damage pavement and penetrate structural foundations.   It has hollow stems which are bamboo-like.  While occasionally the plant reproduces by seed, it is spread primarily by the extensive underground rhizome network which can take over many acres of land.
 

Once Japanese knotwood has become established, it is extremely difficult to eradicate. Attempting to remove Japanese knotweed by pulling or digging it out is generally fruitless because of its extensive underground rhizome network. In fact hand pulling or digging may even encourage further spreading if all pieces of the plant are not fully removed from the soil and disposed of properly. Herbicide application has been the most effective treatment.

 

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TALLGRASS RESTORATION ASSISTS EAGLE SCOUTS IN A LOCAL RESTORATION PROJECT

 

Two Boy Scouts from Elkhorn, Wisconsin, working in coordination with Mark Steinfest, a Civil Engineering Technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, are restoring four flood distressed properties on Silver Lake and North Lake in Walworth County.  The plan involves restoring native prairie and savanna communities as well as installing wood duck nesting boxes in abandoned lots owned by the Township of Sugar Creek.  The four lots, totaling about one acre in size, once had homes on them prior to being flooded out and condemned in 2008. FEMA bought the parcels, demolished the dwellings, and turned ownership and maintenance responsibilities over to Sugar Creek.  Currently the Township mows the lots several times during the summer to keep the weeds down. The hope is that by restoring these lakefront lots the habitat created will benefit local wildlife populations, reduce erosion and maintenance costs, add scenic beauty to the area as well as offer a learning opportunity for the boys as they work towards achieving their Eagle Scout Rank.


Tallgrass became involved when Mark Steinfest and the two scouts, Adam Prince and Austin Morgon, approached Chris Kaplan who runs the Tallgrass office in Milton. Tallgrass offered to assist in the project by donating herbicide to kill off the existing weeds and turf, as well as provide all the seed that would be needed to restore the sites. There was only one catch... that the boys would need to harvest the seeds themselves. Chris took the boys, along with parents, grandparents and fellow scouts, to the 215 acre Tallgrass Farm located at 3129 E County Highway N in Milton to harvest seed from the extensive restored prairies. Seed collection took place on two separate days, one early and one late in October. This was done to capture a wider range of species as the seed of the native species matures at different times.   Below are a few pictures of the seed collection: 

scouts1
The group harvests Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) seed

 

scouts2
Adam Prince holds the rattle-like seed pods of Wild White Indigo (Baptisia leucantha)
 

 

scouts3
Austin carefully cuts and collects the showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa) seed before it flies away

 

 

 

scouts4a
Austin and his grandmother pose with Adam and his parents holding up some of the seed they collected

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the seed was collected, Adam and Austin laid it out to dry.  Once it dries, they will clean the seed.  This cleaning process is done by shaking, stirring, and agitating the harvested material to free the seeds from the stems.  Following cleaning, the seed will be blended into two mixes, one for the sunny prairie areas and one for the shady savanna areas.  The seed will finally be hand sown this November to overwinter in the soil and germinate in the following spring.  Following germination, and up through the first couple of years critical to establish the cover, Adam and Austin will work with the Township of Sugar Creek to maintain the newly seeded areas. Tallgrass is proud of its involvement in this project and will continue to offer support going forward.   Good work Austin and Adam!

 

  

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bedsMEDICINAL PLANTS
 

In our last issue we focused on "Edible Plants," and decided to share some information on certain plants that have been used for medicinal purposes. 

White Wild Indigo (Baptisia alba)

 

Indigo
White Wild Indigo

 

 

Native Americans used white wild indigo for several  medicinal purposes.  It was used to treat colds, scarlet fever, typhus, eczema, and dysentery. When combined with senega snakeroot it helps to treat snakebites. It was considered a stimulant and a treatment for cuts. This plant can be toxic therefore experimenting with it is not advised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boneset
Boneset


 
Boneset  (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

 

Boneset was a favorite remedy of Native Americans, who primarily used it to treat fevers.  The early settlers used the plant to treat rheumatism, dropsy, dengue fever, malaria, pneumonia, and influenza.  In fact, the name "boneset" is derived from the use of this plant in treating a form of influenza which due to the pain accompanying it was called breakbone fever. Boneset was also used as a diuretic and laxative in small doses, while in large doses it was used to induce vomiting.  Although there are few reports of adverse effects with the use of boneset, the FDA has classified boneset as an "Herb of Undefined Safety."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Echinacea purpurea syn E. angustifoli, Purple Coneflower

 

ech
Echinacea

 

The Plain Indians (Comanche and Sioux) used the purple coneflower for the treatment of upper respiratory infections, burns, snakebites, and cancers. It has been demonstrated that plant extracts from the purple coneflower stimulate the immune system to combat bacterial and viral infections. It also possesses antibiotic properties.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Horsetail
Horsetail


Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

 

Horsetail has been used as an herbal remedy as far back as Roman and Greek times. It is an extremely effective diuretic which is why it has traditionally been used as a treatment for illnesses related to retention of liquids, such as diabetes, obesity, and kidney disease.  Other uses were to stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, and treat tuberculosis. In addition, horsetail contains silicon, which plays a role in strengthening bone. For that reason, it is sometimes suggested as a treatment for osteoporosis. Recently, studies have suggested that horsetail has antioxidant properties and may inhibit cancer cell growth. Modern science has yet to unravel horsetail's medical properties completely.  However, in the interim exercise caution in using horsetail as it is listed as a "hazardous" plant by the University of Wisconsin Herbarium meaning that "[s]ome part of these plants MAY be known to be mildly to severely toxic to either animals and/or humans." 

 

  

 

yarrow
Yarrow

Achillea millefolium, Yarrow
 

Achilles, the great hero of the Trojan War in Homer's "Iliad", is reported to have used yarrow to stop the flow of blood from his wounds inflicted in battle. It has been scientifically proven that this plant has substances that have blood clotting and anti-inflammatory properties. In the Middle Ages in Europe, yarrow tea was taken to stop internal bleeding. Micmac Indians drank it with warm milk to treat upper respiratory infections.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tallgrass Restoration Project Receives Chicago Wilderness Award

 

award

Valley Lakes Community Association of Round Lake received the Conservation and National Landscaping Award from Chicago Wilderness and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The association was honored for its work restoring 273 acres of wetlands and 21 ponds in the Fox Valley watershed. Also cited in the award notice was Tallgrass Restoration, LLC of Schaumburg, which has worked with Valley Lakes Community Association since spring 2006 to design native shorelines and create wetland management plans. Award organizers called the association "a model of citizen stewardship and grassroots environmental education." The award recognizes local government agencies, individuals, and businesses for "exemplary natural landscaping and conservation development."


golfFALL GARDENING TIPS
 

Here are a few gardening tips to think about tackling before the cold weather hits:

  1. October through November is flower bulb planting season. Spring favorites such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths need to be planted in the fall in order to bloom in the spring. Ideally plant about six weeks before the ground freezes hard in your area. 
  2. Early autumn is the best time to divide perennials that bloom in spring and summer.
  3. Prepare for the first frost. Dig tender perennials such as cannas, begonias, and gladiolus. Discard tops and store bulbs, corms, and rhizomes in dry peat moss or vermiculite. 
  4. Bring house plants back indoors before night temperatures drop below 55F. 
  5. Deadhead perennials, and discard dead and diseased foliage to reduce infection next year.
  6. Now is a good time to prune back trees and shrubs, including shrub roses. It's also a good time to plant them. In the fall, trees and shrubs are in a dormant state, and the planting and pruning are less shocking to the plant.
  7. Fertilize Trees and Shrubs. Apply broadleaf weed killers to lawn. 
  8. Protect shrubs near roadways from the spray of salt, water and ice with burlap, plastic tarp or other material. 
  9. Mound soil around rose grafts for winter protection.  
  10. When frost begins to turn perennial foliage brown it's time to trim them back. Leave mums, sedum, and ornamental grasses alone. These look pretty in winter. Also leave coneflowers, black-eyed Susans and other plants with seeds as food for birds.
  11. Restock bird feeders and put out fresh water to help birds migrating south.
  

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tipsPrairie 101 - How to recognize a prairie...  
 

Have you ever wondered if the field you see on the side of a road is a prairie or just a field of weeds?  Here are a few clues that will help you distinguish a prairie.
 
  • Prairies are a diverse ecosystem. In fact prairies are the most diverse repository of species in the Midwest, with over 851 prairie plants found in Illinois alone. This means that a prairie has many different species on it. If you see a field that has large stands of a single type of plant, it is likely not a prairie. A prairie will be a diverse mixture of plant heights, textures and colors.
  • Note the height of the plants; prairies generally lack trees or tall shrubs. Prairies tend to range from 3-10 feet in height, with only a few scattered plants exceeding this height.
  • During the summer, prairies are particularly alive with butterflies and birds which would be in sharp contrast to a weedy field.
  • During the fall, prairie grasses change color in the same manner as trees, ultimately turning a beautiful reddish brown. A weedy, non-native field would not display this kind of color.  
  • Finally, check for a sign. Many public and private areas that have been restored are often marked with signs indicating that they have been restored or preserved.  

 

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Government Programs 

 

The goal of the Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) is to help private landowners create and manage habitat for species that are rare or declining by providing management advice, assistance with management plans, and cost-share funding to individuals and organizations proposing projects on private lands throughout the state.

 

Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, conducting prescribed burns, restoring native vegetation, and removing invasive and woody species to benefit at-risk species. LIP is a cost-share program and DNR can reimburse a landowner for up to 75% of the cost for the on-the-ground practices that are involved in the management of the project. The landowner is required to contribute the matching percentage.

 

Technical assistance is available to Wisconsin landowners free of charge, and is not contingent on applying for or receiving a LIP cost-share grant. A LIP biologist can work with you over the phone, email, or possibly even meet with you on your property. Technical assistance can include:

  • Identifying what habitats (or species) may be present on your land
  • Suggesting approaches to management
  • Help in determining priorities and timelines
  • Guidance in developing management plans
  • Referrals for cost or technical assistance, either through LIP or another program
  • Providing Information on land protection options

Tallgrass Restoration is a full-service restoration company which can, and often does, provide the services required under a LIP grant. Please call our offices at 847-925-9830 in Schaumburg, Illinois or 608-531-1768 in Milton, Wisconsin for more information or to set up a time to meet with one of our professional staff to help you enroll in this program.

 

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leadHunting Poem

 

Rob Adams, one of Tallgrass' seasonal workers, wrote the following poem and with the hunting season upon us, we thought it was the appropriate time to print it. Thanks Rob.

My dad and I go hunting birds
Up North Dakota way
My mother thinks we're both absurd
She says it's just to play
We stock the freezer is our claim
The days are long and hard
For hunting food there is no shame
Illegal to shoot in our yard
The first walk out behind our dog
Not long before some flush
My dad pulls up trips on a log
My blood begins to rush
My turn is up I take a crack
A pheasant drops from the sky
"No worries old man, I got your back"
For hunting, this is why

 hunt 

 

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golfTracy's Treats


Chili is a delicious choice for fall and for this edition of Tracy's Treats, I thought I would share one of my recipes. I like to participate in the annual Chilimania Chili Cook Off in Edgerton, Wisconsin, and this is the recipe I entered this year. Unfortunately, it wasn't the winning recipe, but its flavor and original ingredients were popular with the crowd. chili3 
  
Brown Chicken Brown Cow chili  

1 lb beef, ground

1 lb chicken, ground

c onion, diced

c jalapenos, diced

2 tea garlic, minced

1 c tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced

3 c broth, chicken or beef

29 oz tomato sauce

23 oz tomato juice

  

Spices:

2 tea garlic

2 tea onion

2 tea chili powder

1 tea white pepper

2 tea cumin

2 tea Worcestershire sauce

 

Pictures: Chili simmering (above). Chili cook-off contestants Katie Kuznacic and Tracy Runice (below)

contestants3
 

 

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Click
HERE to take the Plant ID Quiz!
- PLEASE NOTE: Make sure the initial "Welcome" page fully loads before proceeding with the Quiz.
Click HERE for Ask the Ecologist!
Tallgrass Announcements

 

Tallgrass Anniversaries

 

August - Chris Kaplan 6 years, Troy Showerman 5, Cindy Burke 3, Matt Hokanson 3, Lisa Mertz-Erwin 1

  

Upcoming Events:

 

December 14-15, 2011

Invasive Plants Symposium

Hyatt Regency, Milwaukee, WI

www.ncwss.org

 

January 18-90, 2012

Mid-America Horticultural Trade Show

Navy Pier, Chicago, IL

www.midam.org

 

January 26-27, 2012

Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD/IPRA) Soaring to New Heights Conference

Hyatt Regency, Chicago, IL

www.ILparks.org

 

February 10-12, 2012

Madison Garden Expo

Alliant Center, Madison, WI

www.wigardenexpo.com

 

February 22-23, 2012

Urban Wetlands Conference, by the Wisconsin Wetlands Association

Lake Geneva, WI

www.wisconsinwetlands.org

 

 

 

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More About Tallgrass  
 

Tallgrass Contact Information

 

Illinois

 

Project Ecologists

 

Doug DeWitt

doug.dewitt@tallgrassrestoration.com

Mark Micek

mark.micek@tallgrassrestoration.com

Troy Showerman

troy.showerman@tallgrassrestoration.com

 

 

Wisconsin

 

Project Ecologists

 

Chris Kaplan

chris.kaplan@tallgrassrestoration.com

Jordan Rowe

jordan.rowe@tallgrassrestoration.com

 

 

Illinois and Wisconsin

 

Ron Adams, President

ron.adams@tallgrassrestoration.com

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

tracy.runice@tallgrassrestoration.com

 

 

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 2012!
 
Sincerely,
Your Friends at Tallgrass Restoration


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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.