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Author: Kankakee Sands Efroymson Restoration

The Nature Conservancy's Kankakee Sands of Indiana and Illinois is 10,000 acres of prairie and savanna habitat in Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois, open every day of the year for public enjoyment. For more information visit or call the office at 219-285-2184.

By: Victoria Miller, The Nature Conservancy 

My six-month stint as a seasonal Restoration Management Assistant at Kankakee Sands has come to an end. During the past six months, I've experienced so much. One memory that stands out was a July day on the prairie. We were working on creating trails for the Bison Overlook Area at Kankakee Sands in Unit K, west of the Kankakee Sands office.

When the Bison Arrive…

Friday, October 14, 2016 10:25 AM by Kankakee Sands Efroymson Restoration

By Alyssa Nyberg - The Nature Conservancy

When the bison arrive at Kankakee Sands, I don't know what I'll do first. Jump for joy, grab a camera and start photographing, or just sit down and watch.

Bison are due to arrive at Kankakee Sands this fall. A small herd of 25 will be making the journey from a Nature Conservancy preserve in South Dakota, to our restoration here in Indiana. Once on site, the bison's job will be to help us manage 1,100 acres of our restoration by eating grasses, thinning out trees, and churning up the soil. Luckily, this is what bison do! Their natural behaviors will result in a greater number of wildflower species and bird species, too.

By: Samantha Kinsman, The Nature Conservancy

When my sister and I were young, we used to take monarch caterpillars into our care and raise them to butterflies. It was a complicated project, usually headed by my sister, that involved finding and collecting teeny tiny monarch eggs on common milkweed plants, monitoring the eggs until they hatched, and getting the microscopic caterpillars situated on fresh milkweed leaves to eat and grow.

By: Alyssa Nyberg, Efroymson Restoration at Kankakee Sands

Rain soaked and exhausted, I stand at the edge of a wetland. My hair is plastered to my face, my shirt is askew, and my jeans are heavy with water and mud. At this moment, I am far from the epitome of "marsh grace". But the short green plant before me, Eleocharis obtusa, is exactly "marsh grace".

By: Alyssa Nyberg, Efroymson Restoration at Kankakee Sands

Here I sit beneath the shadecloth at the Kankakee Sands Nursery at four o'clock in the afternoon. I am just watching and waiting.

Beside me are 200 small black pots of prairie fame flower (Phemeranthus rugospermus). Any moment now, the pots will be transformed from a mass of green succulent leaves to a floating sea of pink when the blossoms of the fame flower open. Then within an hour, they will close again. The whole process is absolutely mesmerizing, puzzling, and intriguing. That's why you'll find me here, again, this evening, watching and waiting for the floral show to begin.

By: Samantha Kinsman, Efroymson Restoration at Kankakee Sands
Photo credit to Kathy C. Malone

I'd say if there is any bird that everyone knows, it is the crow. They're big, black, and noisy which makes them easy to spot and identify. Maybe that is why for as long as I can remember, they have been my favorite bird. Many find crows to be obnoxious or a nuisance, but once carefully observed, their intelligence and prominent role in nature is uncovered.