When I was a kid I remember playing in the prairie over on Linden, when it hadn’t yet been destroyed to build a house. It was the only one left in our neighborhood. When I was older, I went to the Brookfield Zoo often and one year there was suddenly this beautiful thing called a prairie restoration. It was one of the most amazing things I’d ever seen! And then they built one on the inside too! Every time I was there observing this beauty I felt really happy. Decades later, I finally saw my first full prairie farther south in Illinois and was able to experience how they are filled with amazing birds and insects at different times of the year. Prairies are beautiful and filled with life. They smell really good :-)
So when when I moved back home I read that the trend was to replace half of your lawn with native plants, I started doing that. It’s been very rewarding to see all the different native bees and other insects using the habitats that I’ve created. On our property we have prairie, wetland, and forest understory restorations. These provide habitat for an incredible diversity of wonderful insects as well as birds and other living things.
Adding Native Plants to your property is something that everyone can do. There are many great online native plant nurseries you can buy from and feel safe doing so, that there are no pesticides impregnated into your plants that will kill pollinators and that they are appropriate for your location. It’s affordable, it’s easy, and it’s fun!
I would love to see Park Ridge residents adding many more beautiful native plants into their yards, schools, parks, and public spaces. Native trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers will provide the necessary diversity and resources for our important pollinators whose lives literally depend on it. They will add to the beauty of our neighborhoods and will support the environment we all depend on for beauty and pleasure.
Take a look at what your neighbors are doing for Park Ridge sustainability!