We may be hunkered down, but we are still buying land. In late April of 2020 the Illinois Audubon Society purchased a 40-acre tract within the Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Jasper County.
The new acquisition is less than a mile south of the Prairie Ridge main office and is near the Illinois Audubon Society’s Robert Ridgway Nature Preserve. An existing booming ground is near the new property and hen greater prairie-chickens characteristically nest within a mile radius of active booming grounds, so hopes are high that the site will soon host nesting prairie-chickens.
According to Bob Gillespie of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources “This tract absolutely will receive immediate prairie-chicken use and will make a fantastic grassland unit for the Prairie Ridge project.” Thanks to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the area will be planted with grasses this spring, if the weather cooperates.
Illinois Audubon Society Executive Director Jim Herkert said “We are thrilled to have had the chance to acquire this parcel. Its proximity to our Robert Ridgeway Nature Preserve, other grasslands in the project area and nearby booming ground make this an ideal addition to the Prairie Ridge State Natural Area. We thank the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for their help in assessing this property and for help in getting grass cover established on the site. We are lucky to have such a fantastic grassland area like Prairie Ridge State Natural Area within the state that is capable of supporting nesting prairie-chickens.”