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Features

July Is National Bison Month: here's how to celebrate

Learn more at MidewinMidewin National Tallgrass Prairie trails in Wilmington or at home

Bison graze at the USDA Forest Service – Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. July is National Bison Month, and there is something for everyone to learn more about America’s National Mammal on the Midewin NTP trails or at home. Photo: USDA Forest Service – Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
Bison graze at the USDA Forest Service – Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. July is National Bison Month, and there is something for everyone to learn more about America’s National Mammal on the Midewin NTP trails or at home. Photo: USDA Forest Service – Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

July is National Bison Month, and there is no better time to learn about bison – America’s National Mammal – on the trails at the USDA Forest Service - Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, where the Native American community that lived at Midewin NTP ate bison and made tools from their bones. 

Or you can learn at home virtually with this webinar, "Bison Project Update," at 7 p.m. July 9

Find out why Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie has bison and what its learning from the herd Midewin NTP Acting Administration Officer Kelly Gutknecht will present.

Another webinar will be 7 p.m. July 16: A Report on the Archaeological Investigations at Middle Grant Creek at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie; Uncovering the Unknown, Unique, and (sometimes) Unclear Past.

Last year, a gardening tool made from a bison shoulder blade was discovered among several agricultural tools at the 17th century Middle Grant Creek site.

In this webinar, Mark Schurr, University of Notre Dame, and Madeleine McLeester, Dartmouth College, will talk about the findings that tell us about the people of the Oneota Culture (1150-1700) who lived at Midewin NTP before European contact during the Huber phase (circa A.D. 1600).

Terry Martin, emeritus curator of Anthropology, Illinois State Museum, will also share some slides of the diverse animal bones, including bison, that are found at the site.

What exactly is Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie? Find out in a four-part series at 10 a.m. July 11, July 25, Aug. 8 and Aug. 28.

Learn about the origins and geography, about restored wetlands and prairie. Find out why ecological restoration is so important and learn about examples of restored prairie. Learn how Midewin will change and what that will mean for wildlife and recreation.

Registration is not required for webinars. To join, visit usfs.adobeconnect.com/r9-midewin-1000.
 
Trails are available seven days a week from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Please recreate responsibly to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

A good starting point to look for the Midewin NTP bison is the Iron Bridge Trailhead. The Trailhead is located approximately five miles north of Wilmington, on the east side of Highway 53. Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes; bring binoculars.  

Trail maps are available in Spanish and English at.fs.usda.gov/main/midewin/maps-pubs.

For a 2019 video of the bison, visit bit.ly/3235pyb.

For the full July schedule of events, visit, visit fs.usda.gov/midewin. '

For more information, email: SM.FS.Midewin_RSVP@usda.gov or call 815-423-6370. 

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