It once was greater. At 412.7 acres, Revis Hill Prairie Nature Preserve is one of the largest and finest in the Prairie State, with many rare and endangered plant and animal species. Unfortunately, as of 25 years ago when Ken Robertson and colleagues studied it, 56% of the prairie had already been lost to brush.
More has been lost since then. For example, two High Quality prairies mapped as part of Revis by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory in the 70s (see aerial photo, below) have gradually become just brush.
An event to honor Revis is planned for September 17th. Should we celebrate? Or mourn?
By God! and Evolution! the answer is to celebrate the precious core that survives - and then act! Steward volunteers are needed.
Staff is spread too thin. With dedication, they have stopped the losses in some areas, but there are so many acres sliding away, year by year, day by day as the brush grows. Volunteers could help. We conservationists need to support all three of the initiatives below:
- Fill vacant staff positions in DNR and INPC. (See Endnote 1).
- Increase and improve contract funding. (See Endnote 2.)
- Welcome and empower more steward volunteers. (See Endnote 3.)
Our attention and voices can make the difference. Revis deserves health and quality restored to the prairie - and for that matter to the adjacent oak savanna and woods, which have filled with brush and suffered too. This extraordinary preserve could be a model that lends visibility and sets an example for needy preserves nearby and statewide.
If you live in Springfield or Peoria or Bloomington or Champaign, or anywhere nearby, might you want to support this effort? (More than half a million people live within about a half-hour's drive.)
We hope a "Revis volunteer stewards community" could emerge. If you have questions and/or might be able to help in any way, let us know. You can reach Friends here and Steve Packard through "Comments or Questions" here.
To organize and educate, the informational tour on the 17th will start with speakers at Dickson Mounds at 10:00 a.m. Then we'll caravan and arrive at Revis for tour about 11:00.
- At Dickson, Todd Strole will summarize the importance and needs of Illinois Nature Preserves and Revis specifically. (Todd is the new Nature Preserves director. When this blog first reported on the Nature Preserves and announced the Friends, that position had been vacant for five years. Todd has an exciting and crucial job.)
- Amy Doll will do much the same from her (similarly new) position as first Director of the Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves.
- Philip Juras will offer his compelling perspective as naturalist turned painter. He recently mounted a much-honored show at the Chicago Botanic Garden and currently has an exhibit at Dickson Mounds Museum. One of his paintings of Revis is below:
- Then we'll caravan to Revis (arriving around 11:00 a.m.) and hike with experts - including Michael Wiant of the Illinois State Museum - through the preserve to the drop-dead-beautiful views from high-quality prairie at the top.
- On the way back down we visit a brushed-over prairie area with long-time volunteer Lou Nelms.
Can the losses at Revis be reversed? Some say it would take miracles. But such miracles are under way at other preserves, for example Langham Island and Somme Prairie Grove and potentially Bell Bowl Prairie, for three examples where the "M" word has recently been invoked.
Would you like to be part of it? If so, you are so welcome!
|Zed Moorehouse in the pristine center of Revis. Much of this fine rare prairie |
has been lost under the killing shade of invasive brush.
To recover and survive for the next generation, Revis needs our help.
Photo by Susan Hargrove
White-banded crab spider on pale purple coneflower at Revis. When acres are lost to brush, animal and plant populations drop out. Restoring quality acreage increases sustainability.
Photo by Angella Moorehouse.
Dear everyone else, please let us know if you might like to work at Revis.