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A Tallgrass LegacyWinter 2013 News
Greetings!Tallgrass logo

Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Valentine's Day! Happy President's Day! Happy February and March! Happy 2013!


Looks like we covered them all. Winter is more than half over and once again another winter that we can't complain about. Just enough snow to brighten the ground; just enough cold to keep the ice rinks frozen. I don't know about you, but as pleasant as the winter has been, I'm still ready for spring.


We have some interesting articles in this newsletter that you won't want to miss. Don't forget to visit our website at www.Tallgrassrestoration.com to view some of the other services Tallgrass offers and maybe we can help make your job a lot easier.


Hope you enjoy our first newsletter of 2013. If there are any subjects you would like to read about in our newsletter, don't hesitate to send your comments, suggestions or thoughts to us at: info@tallgrassrestoration.com



 - Your Friends at Tallgrass



                              P.S. We're always up to something interesting here at
Tallgrass. Friend Us! on Facebook to get regular updates.
Green button logo    


 Travel green logo


Wisconsin's innovative program is good for the environment and the bottom line...





Wild One Members  Tallgrass Restoration and Peter Layton hosted a fall seed collection day at Tallgrass Farm in Milton, Wisconsin on Saturday, October 20th...



Dust bowl storm  Erosion control is one of the most essential functions of prairies.  The Dust Bowl is a dramatic example of the drastic consequences of erosion.

In anticipation of spring, see how many of these lovely flowering trees you can identify...  



Sorghastrum nutans


Indian Grass  This majestic grass stabilizes soil while adding beauty and interest to landscapes during all seasons......








grassed buffers Landowners can earn $200/acre per year for the next 15 years or a lump sum for a total of $3,000/acre for planting grassed buffers along streams, ditches, and rivers on marginal croplands.




More Articles and Links 



Protect Trees  Consider the effect the project will have on your landscaping and take steps to minimize the damage... 







thanks2010_prpnylw  Does this sound too good to be true? Read about the Illinois Conservation Stewardship Program.  



 In an effort to give our readers a personal insight into Tallgrass, we are spotlighting a Tallgrass employee in each newsletter. This issue's employee is Rebecca Olsen.     


Glechoma hederacea...

Creeping Charlie  

This lacy little flower, native to Europe and Southwest Asia, is now pervasive in disturbed sunny, open areas throughout the United States.



This recipe featuring milkweed pods is truly going native... 
Rubber Plant 
 Learn about the houseplants that can filter out harmful chemicals from our homes.... 







Arcea Palm

Areca Palm

 A clean office or home doesn't actually mean "CLEAN." Some cleaning products may release chemicals including ammonia and chlorinated solvents. Also, dangerous chemicals often are "off-gassed" into the air by many common household items, such as carpets and pressed wood furniture. Our better insulated homes tend to seal in these dangerous chemicals. The EPA ranks indoor-air quality as one of the five top threats to our health.


One can always purchase an expensive air-filtration system, but an easier and cheaper way to clean the air is through simple houseplants which can filter many dangerous chemicals out of the air. 

Rubber Plant
Rubber Plant 

Some examples would be an Areca Palm, also known as a yellow palm; the Lady Palm, one of the most effective houseplants for improving indoor-air quality and is highly resistant to most insects; the Rubber Plant, excellent at removing chemical toxins, and the Peace Lily, just to name a few. The plants' leaves absorb dangerous chemicals from the air, while the microbes that live around the plants' roots convert chemicals into a source of food and energy for themselves.  

So next time you have a headache, throat irritation or congestion, before shopping for an air filtration system, think about buying a plant not only for its beauty, but also for its health benefits.





Travel green logo


As consumers have become more aware of the effect their choices have on the environment, they are basing many of their decisions to spend on not just the cost or desirability of goods or services, but also on their environmental impact. In keeping with Wisconsin's "heritage of stewardship," Wisconsin Department of Tourism introduced the "Travel Green Wisconsin" program in 2006 to promote smart, environmentally friendly business practices. The program is the first of its kind and is a voluntary certification program.


It works this way. Applicants (who are businesses engaged in some aspect of tourism in Wisconsin) must earn a minimum of 35 points in order to be certified under the Travel Green program. The points are earned by the applicants pledging to use sustainable green business practices from nine different categories. These categories range from Communication and Education, to Waste Reduction, Energy Efficiency and Wildlife and Landscape Conservation and Management. For example, an applicant may earn points by such things as implementing a recycling program, using native plants in landscaping, installing low flush or dual flush toilets, using Energy Star qualified appliances and installing a rain garden. travel green guide


There are numerous benefits to being certified under the program; it is not only good for the environment, it is good for the bottom line. Certified businesses can use the Travel Green logo on all its promotional materials and will be included in all promotional materials generated by the program. This certification can prove a valuable incentive for travelers. Recent surveys have shown that up to 50% of travelers are willing to pay more to stay at an eco-friendly accommodation. It can also add up to energy, water, waste disposal and product savings for business owners. Kudos to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for initiating this innovative program which is a win-win for businesses, travelers, and the environment.



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Consider the landscaping...


Protect Trees Your plans are drawn, you've found a contractor, but have you given any thought to your trees and shrubs? Construction can be harmful and sometimes deadly to your trees and shrubs. It is possible to preserve trees and shrubs if the correct steps are taken. You'll save time and money if you develop a landscape protection plan before construction begins. Careful planning will help you avoid the expense of repairs or removal of trees located too close to construction.


Hire a professional arborist to help you decide which trees are worth saving and to work with your contractor to protect the trees and shrubs through the construction process. It's not always easy to save trees or shrubs during construction, but is well worth the effort.   Healthy trees and shrubs can increase property values.









Does this sound too good to be true? Read on....


Conservation Stewardship Program The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) administers the Conservation Stewardship Program which provides property tax incentives for landowners interested in preserving and enhancing their property. Properties eligible for the program must be at least 5 acres in size, undeveloped, not located in Cook County, not farmland and not already part of a nature preserve. For complete eligibility requirements see: www.dnr.state.il.us/stewardship/background.htm


Unlike conservation easements, the program is not permanent and does not affect the value of the property or the owner's ability to sell or transfer the property. It is a 10 year program, but there is no penalty for withdrawal from the program before the 10 years has expired.


thanks2010_prpnylw Landowners must first submit an application to the IDNR with a Conservation Stewardship Plan, which specifies the conservation and management practices designed to preserve and/or restore the property. While not required, it is recommended that landowners consult professionals, such as Tallgrass Restoration, to help formulate a Conservation Stewardship Plan.


Once a property has been accepted into the plan, the property will be valued at 5% of the market value instead of the standard 33% tax assessment. This is equivalent to an 83% property tax savings.


For more info see: www.dnr.state.il.us/stewardship/background.htm or call Tallgrass at 847-925-9830.




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Declan Kaplan
Declan Kaplan harvests leadplant seed. Leadplant belongs to a group of plants called legumes which are important because they convert nitrogen gas from the air into a form that can be taken up by plants.

  Tallgrass Restoration and Peter Layton hosted a fall seed collection day at Tallgrass Farm in Milton, Wisconsin on Saturday, October 20th. The event was co-organized by Chris Kaplan, Sales and Project Manager at the Wisconsin Branch and Nan Calvert, Conservation Easement Coordinator with the Kenosha/Racine Land Trust, Inc. and President of the Root River Chapter of the Wild Ones. 

Devin Kaplan
Devin Kaplan holds the pods of common milkweed, an important food source and larval host plant of the monarch butterfly.

Nan caravanned with other fellow members of Wild Ones, which is a not-for-profit environmental education and advocacy organization that promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.


The goal for the day of the collection was to harvest native prairie seed for reintroduction into other areas. The seed will eventually be sown at other natural areas including River Bend Nature Center, Seno Woodland Education Center, several conservation subdivisions in Racine County and the back yards of those members who participated in the collection. The group harvested, among other things, native grasses, milkweed and leadplant.  For more information about Wild Ones please visit their website at www.wildones.org.

The group poses with the harvest. From left to right, Karen, Clarence, Devin and Declan Kaplan, Harley and Evelyn Dell, and Nan Calvert.  


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water erosion Historically, one of the least known but most essential functions of prairies and native plantings has been erosion control. Erosion is the removal from the earth's surface of soil or rock due to water or wind processes, and then the depositing of it elsewhere. While erosion is a natural process, human activity - primarily unsustainable agricultural practices - has dangerously accelerated the process.


Dust bowl storm The Dust Bowl is a dramatic example of the drastic consequences of erosion. The Dust Bowl, a series of dust storms occurring from 1930-1940 in the Great Plains, was one of the worst ecological disasters in modern history. Beginning in the 1920s farmers began to employ mechanized deep plowing which displaced the natural deep-rooted grasses that normally kept the soil in place and stored moisture even during times of drought. In addition, the farmers removed trees which allowed the wind to race across the land, gathering speed. Removing the soil's natural anchor combined with the drought caused nearly 1/3rd of the Great Plains to blow away, or erode, during that period.


Erosion can also occur due to water. This is why anchoring river and stream banks is so important. River and stream bank erosion can lead to loss of productive land, stream bank instability, damage to downstream property, high sediment loads, reduction in water quality, loss of native aquatic habitats, and damage to roads, bridges and dams.


The most effective method to prevent erosion is to increase vegetative cover on the land, which helps to prevent both wind and water erosion.  smaller pic native roots Due to their very deep root systems, native grasses are the best choice for erosion control. Their roots firmly anchor the soil and they have the advantage of being fully adapted to the local climate and soils, thus requiring little maintenance to thrive. In addition, using natives helps control the invasion of non-native, highly opportunistic grasses that spread quickly and reduce biodiversity.








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Our employee spotlight is Rebecca Olson, president and owner of Olson Ecological Solutions, LLC (OES). OES and Tallgrass Restoration (TGR) have formed a working relationship in December, 2012. OES specializes in planning and consulting for conservation and restoration of our natural resources. Prior to starting OES, Rebecca was the Director of Land Preservation at the Natural Land Institute, the first land trust in Illinois.


We asked Rebecca why she wanted to work in ecological restoration and she said that "I have always relied on my surroundings as a source of happiness, energy, and inspiration. I have lived in some amazing places and others that lack these qualities. It is this awareness and desire to change attributes of my surroundings, combined with my love for the natural world, that have led me to ecological restoration as a means of making a community a more attractive and viable place to live."


When asked what she liked best about TGR, Rebecca exclaimed: "The People! Tallgrass is an energetic, intelligent and passionate group of people. Being part of this team allows me to better serve my clients and introduce new opportunities for partnership and collaboration."


In addition to running OES, Rebecca enjoys skiing, running, cooking, gardening and reading. Rebecca resides in Rockford, IL with her husband and two children. She received her BA in biology with a minor in chemistry at Denison University and her MS in Ecology at Colorado State University.


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PLANT I.D. QUIZ - Early blooming trees and shrubs 

As we move out of winter and into early spring, we will start to see some flowering trees and shrubs.  Let's see how many you can correctly identify. 


 1.  This native flowering tree harkens the beginning of spring with its lovely pink flowers.  The small pea-like flowers grow not only on the branches of this tree but also on the trunk, appearing before the leaves unfold.  The flowers are pollinated by long-tongued bees such as blueberry bees and carpenter bees.  The fruit are flattened, dry, brown, pea-like pods.  Which of the ones below is it? 


a. empress tree branch  b. redbud branch c.crabapple branch 

    empress tree                                    red bud                      Japanese flowering crabapple
(Paulownia tomentosa)                   (Cercis canadensis)                     (malus floribunda)




2.  This native tree has showy, cup-shaped flowers that bloom in April and May after the leaves unfold.  Each flower has a cone-shaped cluster of pistils surrounded by six petals.  It is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee and is one of the largest of the native trees.  Which one of the ones below is it?


 tulip tree   ohio buckeye  forsythia 

a.       tulip Tree                  b.    Ohio buckeye                     c. forsythia

    (Lirodendron tulipfera)            (Aesculus glabra)                     (Forsythia x intermedia)



3.  This native tree flowers from April to June. The small, inconspicuous flower is surrounded by what most people mistake for petals but which are actually bracts, specialized types of leaves. This tree will grow to a maximum of 33 feet high and is often wider than it is tall when mature. The short-tongued bee is a specialist pollinator of this tree although many other bees, flies, butterflies and beetles are attracted to it.  Which of the ones below is it?


a.   b.  c.  

      black locust                   serviceberry                  dogwoods
  (Robinia pseudoacacia)       (Amelanchier sp.)           (Cornus sp.)







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grassed buffers The Racine County Land Conservation is offering grants to owners of marginal cropland in the Root River or Lake Michigan direct watersheds. Landowners can earn $200/acre per year for the next 15 years or a lump sum for a total of $3,000/acre for planting grassed buffers along streams, ditches, and rivers on marginal croplands. The landowner must live in the Root River or Lake Michigan direct watershed and must sign a 15 year contract. If the contract is broken, all monies must be repaid. The buffers can be either warm season or cool season grasses. For help in determining eligibility call Racine County Land Conservation at (262) 886-8479, and for installation assistance call Tallgrass Restoration at (847) 925-9830.               .


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The Plant Corner




Indian Grass

Sorghastrum nutans


Indian Grass
Indian Grass adds interest to winter landscapes.  

 Indian Grass is one of the most common native grasses used in restored prairies.  Standing about six feet tall with a soft, 

Indian Grass is found in Conservation Reserve Program plantings, as pictured here with intermittent Little Bluestem.  

conspicuous seed head, Indian Grass is an attractive addition to backyard gardens and natural settings on business campuses and golf courses. You will likely see Indian Grass used in no-mow plantings along highway right-of-ways and on steep slopes due it the ability of its long roots to stabilize soil. It is a type of "bunch  grass," which grows in a large bunch rather than forming sod. Small animals form burrows out of the bunches when they are covered with insulating snow.   Indian Grass also provides food and structure important for grasshoppers and other large insects that provide food for the state endangered Mississippi Kite and other raptors.






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The Plant Corner




Creeping Charlie

Glechoma hederacea



Creeping Charlie
Creeping Charlie invades the forest floor of disturbed woodlands.  

Creeping Charlie is a low-growing perennial that creeps along the ground in shady, moist areas of lawns and gardens. It becomes obvious in spring when its numerous, tiny lavender flowers bloom. During other times of the year, it is identifiable by its round, scalloped leaves that resemble miniature versions of Common Geranium. Creeping Charlie is a problem in natural areas because it can take over the forest floor within disturbed woodlands, choking out more desirable vegetation or preventing it from germinating. Establishing and maintaining a healthy stand of desirable vegetation will combat Creeping Charlie, and a consistent maintenance schedule will help to keep it under control.





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 This is an unusual recipe using the pods of the native plant milkweed. This is one of the things collected on our fall seed collection day at Tallgrass Farm (see the article earlier in this newsletter). This recipe is from life from "The Wild, Wild Cookbook: A Guide for Young Wild-food Foragers," by Jean Craighead George:






Milkweed Pod Pie

3 cups milkweed pods


2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 baked pie shell

Grated parmesan cheese or cheese of choice. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover and boil milkweed pods in water 5 minutes, change water and boil 10 more minutes. Drain. Stir in butter until melted. Add flour and stir until pods are covered. Add milk slowly, stirring all the time until mixture thickens. Add salt. Pour into baked pie shell. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Place in oven until mixture bubbles and cheese melts.


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On December 11, 2012 the Heatherwood Estates Homeowners Association (HOA) in Schaumburg won a Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from Chicago Wilderness for work performed by Tallgrass Restoration.


"The Conservation and Native Landscaping Awards celebrate the critical work of diverse organizations to enhance the health of nature in our region," said Melinda Pruett-Jones, Executive Director of Chicago Wilderness.


The awards recognize park districts, forest preserve districts, nonprofit organizations, local governments and corporations for exemplary use of natural landscaping, ecological restoration, and conservation design. These practices create and protect habitat for a variety of native plant and animal species and result in important environmental benefits for both people and nature.


Tallgrass Restoration worked with the HOA and the Village of Schaumburg beginning in 2008 to convert their   turf and rip-rap lined pond into a diverse native shoreline that has become a home to several different reptile, amphibian and bird species. The homeowners have been dedicated to their natural shoreline, and each year they look to improve the habitat quality. Over the years they have even elected to install dead trees in the water to provide perches for turtles and waterfowl, and habitat for fish. Tallgrass is very happy for Heatherwood Estates, and is honored to be providing them with continued environmental services.


More about Chicago Wilderness: 


Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance, consisting of more than 260 organizations, that connects people and nature. For more information, visit www.chicagowilderness.org.


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Tallgrass Announcements:




13 Years                January, 2013                     Mark Micek

10 Years                March, 2013                       Doug DeWitt


9 Years                  May, 2013                         Jordan Rowe


8 Years                  December, 2012                  Tracy Thompson

6 Years                  February, 2013                    Jay Yunker

4 Years                  March, 2013                        Fred Kieltyka


                                                                    John Shannon



                            April, 2013                           Steve Yost



3 Years                  April, 2013                           Rob Adams



                            May, 2013                          Ryan Adams


2 Years                  March, 2013                       Isaiah Ballinger


                            March, 2013                       Jack Pearson

1 Year                    April, 2013                         Garrett Dalton

                                                                    Gretchen Oleson

                            May, 2013                          John Sissman

                                                                    Evan Booth







March 13 - Bobak's Conference Center, Woodridge

                 Conservation Foundation's annual Beyond the Basics conference.







Answers to Plant I.D. Quiz: 1.b; 2.a; 3.c


















Tallgrass Restoration

2221 Hammond Drive

Schaumburg, IL 60173-3813


Phone: 847-925-9830

Fax: 847-925-9840


Project Ecologists:


Doug DeWitt


Mark Micek


Troy Showerman



Tallgrass Restoration

3129 E. County Road N

Milton, WI 53563


Phone: 608-531-1768

Fax: 608-551-2227

Project Ecologists:

Chris Kaplan


Jordan Rowe


Illinois and Wisconsin

Ron Adams, President


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







Thanks for reading the fall issue of A Tallgrass Legacy. Look for our winter issue coming soon!
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.