Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • 501 Prairie Farmer Interpretive Route

    Credit: D. Strohmeyer

    The woodland around Prairie Farmer Interpretive Route wasn't always filled with trees. This was area was once known as Fairview Dairy Farm and run by the Arthur and Vera Schumacher. Until 1940, most of this space was filled with farmyard, farm buildings, and home but not all these trees. The majority of trees you see here are decedents of a few black locust trees planted in the 1930's. This was encouraged by the government to prevent soil erosion. Black locust trees are colonial and send up new trees from the roots. Black locust are not native to this part of Illinois and can become invasive. On the plus side, they do make strong fence posts, have sweet smelling, beautiful flowers, and are part of history of this farm. The woodland flowers you see below the trees have arrived mainly by bird. In recent years, Midewin has added woodland seed to increase the plant diversity.