NATIONAL BISON DAY BISON CRAWL SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2

Contact(s): Veronica Hinke


News Release: Bison Crawl

Celebrate bison, America’s National Mammal, on Saturday, Nov. 2 – National Bison Day. Local, State and Federal partners will host the 2nd annual Bison Crawl at sites throughout the Prairie State. The purpose of the Bison Crawl is to raise awareness of the historical significance of bison and their importance to the prairies. From prairie food demonstrations to nature hikes and more, there will be something for everyone along the Bison Crawl trail! We hope to see you at one of these educational sites:  

USDA Forest Service – Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington/Elwood/Manhattan/Symerton, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • At Midewin, we will begin and end National Bison Day with two very special RIBBON-CUTTINGS: NEW - Illinois & Michigan Canal Corridor Map Table – The I & M Canal provided a trade route that was key to the establishment and growth of Chicago. Midewin is located along the canal corridor. Celebrate the installation of a new six-foot map that shows the I & M Canal Corridor and sites. Midewin Welcome Center; 10 a.m.
  • NEW - Bison Viewing Scopes – Celebrate the installation of two new Bison Viewing Scopes sponsored by the Midewin Alliance and the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation. Meet at the Ranger Trailer at the Iron Bridge Trailhead at 1:30; Hike to the Group 63 Trail Bison Overlook for a ribbon-cutting at 2 p.m. Warm up with apple cider and snacks.

INTERPRETIVE HIKES Bison Day hikes will take place on both the east and west sides of Hwy. 53: 

Time-Travel Prairie Nature Hike Hosted by The Wetlands Initiative! Have a hand in helping restore Midewin: During this 90-minute guided interpretive hike you will get to harvest native Illinois prairie seeds that will be re-planted here. Guides will provide an update on what volunteers and staff are doing to restore the Prairie Glacial Plains, which is an 1,800-acre site that was marked in 2016 for seven years of accelerated restoration. The Wetlands Initiative, the National Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and more are involved in the Prairie Glacial Plains project. Go inside South Patrol Road Prairie – a high-quality restored prairie and wetland restoration site that is the closest example here of what Illinois prairie might have looked like long ago – when bison roamed the “Prairie State.” Hikes will leave at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Park in the lot past the River Road Seedbeds. Located on the north side of River Road; about two miles west of Hwy 53 and River Road. Follow the gravel road for about a half mile until you see a parking lot on the right.

Iron Bridge Trailhead Located on the east side of Hwy. 53, about two miles north of the Midewin Welcome Center (30239 S. State Rt. 53, Wilmington, IL 60481). The turn is just north of the Iron Bridge. Follow the gravel road about one mile until you reach the parking lot. 

  • From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Midewin volunteers will guide interpretive hikes from the Ranger Trailer to look for bison. Along the way, learn about the bison project and how prairie is essential. 
  • Midewin Archaeologist Joe Wheeler will guide interpretive hikes through the remains of farmsteads that were once active near land where bison now roam. Hikes will leave at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.   

Forest Preserve District of Will County, Sugar Creek Administration Center, Joliet

 

Representatives from Ruhter Bison Farm will be on-site with bison furs and skulls to talk about this magnificent animal, including bison ecology and agriculture. Throughout the day, prairie hikes will be offered through the restored prairie, which will provide information on how bison were an integral part of the prairie ecosystem. And back by popular demand, the Bison Chip Throwing Contest will be offered to all ages willing to test their skill at throwing. The winner will receive a real bison skull donated by Ruhter Bison Farm. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 17540 W. Laraway Road, Joliet, IL 60433 (815) 727-8700

Wilmington Public Library District, Wilmington - Prairie Dining with Locavore Farm 2 p.m. - Explore historical cooking techniques and foods that the first pioneers would have eaten as they made their way west across the prairie.  Rachael Jones, Owner of Locavore Farm, a family-run farm featuring local and organic food, will prepare a dish as it would have been made in the 1800s and then turn around and put a modern twist on the same ingredients! Registration is required: (815) 476-2834. 201 S. Kankakee St., Wilmington, IL 60481

Pullman National Monument, Chicago Pullman National Monument will provide a small Bison Photo Station for all to enjoy and learn about why bison are a part of the National Park Service logo, why they have been designated as the official National Mammal, and why they've been brought back to Illinois via Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. 11141 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL 60628 (773) 264-7431

Illinois State Museum, Springfield – “Bison Bonanza Super SaturdayThe bison became the National Mammal in 2016 because of their historical significance and present day impact. Bison have been and are again becoming a big part of Illinois culture and landscape. Participants will learn how the bison relates to American Indian cultures; the difference between bison and buffalo; and how bison help maintain prairie habitats. Bison artifacts and objects from the Museum collections will be on display, and children will enjoy bison games and crafts.

Super Saturdays offer thematic activities recommended for children ages 5 and up each month. Activities take 30-40 minutes to complete and are included with Museum admission. Parents and families are encouraged to participate. For additional information, please contact events@illinoisstatemuseum.org or (217) 782-6044. Sponsored by Bank of Springfield. 502 S. Spring St., Springfield, IL 62703

I&M Canal Boat & Lock 16 Visitor Center, LaSalle The I & M Canal Boat mules, Larry and Moe, will celebrate National Bison Day by dressing up as bison! Come take a selfie with Larry and Moe from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. After your selfie, stop by the I & M Canal Visitor Center for lunch and to view our new I & M Canal exhibit.  754 1st St., Lasalle, IL 61301 (815) 220-1848

Buffalo Rock State Park and I & M Canal State Trail, Ottawa “Hoof” it over to Buffalo Rock State Park in Ottawa, Illinois to learn how the American bison was important to early native peoples. Meet our resident bison Pebbles! Children will have the opportunity to make their own decorated “bison hides” like the people of the plains once did and learn about the cultural significance of the tradition. The program will be delivered twice during the day - at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 1300 N 27th. Road, Ottawa, IL 61350 (815) 433-2224

Starved Rock and Matthiessen State parks, Oglesby In the Visitor Center, get a close-up look at a real bison hide and skull. There will be activity and fact sheets for the whole family to learn about bison. 2668 East 873 Road, Oglesby, IL 61348 (815) 667-4726

LaSalle Public Library, LaSalle Stories and activities especially for kids, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Find out about the majestic American bison. Often associated with the Great Plains, the bison, America’s own National Mammal, once roamed our country from Alaska to Mexico and even to the Eastern Appalachian Mountains. Important for many reasons, the American Bison is now celebrated each year on National Bison Day! Celebrate with us. Especially for kids ages five and up. Younger children may need adult assistance for the activities. Kids under the age of eight must be accompanied by an adult caregiver. All youth participants will receive a free gift book for their home library. This program is free and open to the public but registration is required. The Library is ADA compliant and welcoming. For more information, or to register, please call the Library at (815) 223-2341 or visit us on Facebook or at our website: www.lasalle.lib.il.us. 305 Marquette St., LaSalle, IL, 61301 (located very near the intersection of I-80 and Hwy. I39, seven miles west of Starved Rock State Park)

At 2 p.m., Adrienne Bauer, Animal and Education Director from Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria, will present a program about the American bison and its rich and lasting legacy in America. This program is especially for adults and families with children ages 7 and up, but all are welcome.  Recognized for cultural, historical and ecological significance, the story of the American bison is part of America’s heritage.

Minooka Village Hall, Minooka Prairie Landscape Watercolor Workshop, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. In celebration of our National Mammal, learn basic watercolor techniques from artist Christine Thornton. Create a beautiful landscape painting of the prairie. Beginners are welcome. Registration is required for this adult painting class from the Three Rivers Public Library. To register for this program, visit the library's website at www.trpld.org/events or contact the library at (815) 467-6200. Minooka Village Hall Community Room, 121 Mc Evilly Road, Minooka, IL 60447

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center from the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Willow Springs Join us on a bison history hike along our prairie to discuss the importance of these magnificent grazers.  Selfies with a life size bison will delight visitors of all ages (#BisonCrawl).  Enjoy participating in a bison scavenger hunt, make bison mud pies and learn more about bison and the significance of their horns through activities.  9800 Willow Springs Road, Willow Springs, IL 60480    708-839-6897

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago   At the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, learn about bison at a hands-on interpretive table with bison horns, a piece of bison hide and plant specimens from the museum’s collections. 2430 N Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614       (773) 755-5100

PUBLIC LIBRARIES   Touch a real bison pelt. Get a close-up look at a replica bison bone, horn and a rubber mold of a bison hoof print at a nearby public library. From October 21 through November 2, bison educational items, on loan from the USDA Forest Service’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, will be displayed at the following public libraries (listed alphabetically):  (Check individual websites for operating hours of each library.)



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