The 21st Show

Prairie preservation vs airport expansion

Midewin Prairie in Wilmington, Illinois

Midewin Prairie in Wilmington, Illinois Illinois Department of Natural Resources

The Bell Bowl Prairie in Rockford is seen as somewhat of a local treasure. The five-acre patch of rare Illinois prairie is a natural dry gravel prairie that’s home to rare and endangered species like the rusty patched bumblebee and contains birds, animals, insects, fungi, and microorganisms. It’s also a site rich with history: from Camp Grant to the Civilian Conservation Corps. As part of a 280-acre expansion of the Chicago Rockford International Airport, the prairie, which has gone undeveloped for thousands of years, could be bulldozed, despite concerns that only .01% of Illinois' natural prairie remains. We talked about it with a chapter director from the Sierra Club Illinois and the executive director of the Natural Land Institute.


Jack Darrin

Chapter Director at Sierra Club Illinois

Kerry Leigh 

Executive Director of Natural Land Institute



Prepared for web by Owen Henderson

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