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Native Illinois prairie plants, on loan from Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, in Chicago exhibition

ILLINOIS – Seeds and plants representing 15 native Illinois prairie species, on loan from the USDA Forest Service’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, will be featured through Saturday, January 11 in the “Unraveling Modern Living" exhibition by Mexico City-based architect and artist Tatiana Bilbao. The exhibition highlights the Forest Service's strategic goal of sustaining our nation's forests and grasslands and will be hosted by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts at the Madlener House as part of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

The seeds and plants on loan from the Forest Service represent three prairie habitat types: wet, dry and mesic and include wet: brown fox sedge, prairie sundrop, dark green bulrush, Culver's root, and swamp milkweed; mesic: big bluestem, golden alexander, prairie dropseed, blue-eyed grass, and Ohio spiderwort; and dry: glade onion, side-oats grama, pale purple coneflower, porcupine grass, and marbleseed. In all, the display features 15 species, just a few of the over 275 different species of native Illinois prairie plants that volunteers, partners and staff are working with at Midewin, which is undergoing active restoration or enhancement of 3,000 acres of land that was once the Joliet Army Arsenal.

Illinois prairies will be the topic of a free presentation at the Madlener House – a historic prairie-style mansion in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood – on Saturday, November 16, from 2 to 3 p.m. Author and Midewin volunteer Arthur Pearson and Midewin Archaeologist, Tribal Liaison and Heritage Program Manager Joe Wheeler will share the history of Midewin and lead a conversation about prairie connections in the built and natural environments.

Hours of “Unraveling Modern Living” are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., excluding holiday hours. Madlener House is located at 4 West Burton Place, Chicago, Illinois 60610. Contact: (312) 787-4071;

Two women posing for the camera; two other women, in the background, looking at displays of leaves
Graham Foundation Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs Ellen Alderman (left) and Tatiana Bilbao, a globally recognized award-winning architect committed to sustainable development, at a display featuring native Illinois prairie plants and seeds that are on loan from the USDA Forest Service’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie through Saturday, January 11, 2020. USDA Forest Service photo by Veronica Hinke.