By Lauren Grimaldi
Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg campus will soon be home to 50 different kinds of native plants this spring.
This opportunity comes after three years of attempts by the university to establish a prairie ecosystem at the suburban location.
Assistant Vice President for Campus Planning and Operations Paul Matthews said this will be a significant change for Roosevelt’s efforts for sustainability.
“We are about to enter a phase in which our prairie at the Schaumburg Campus will be exhibiting signs of maturity. It’s an exciting step forward in our sustainability efforts,” Matthews said, according to the school’s website.
Additionally, this newly expected room for growth of the plants comes after a prairie burn took place on the campus on April 15. The fire is said to have burned about 8.5 acres of land on the campus.
Sustainability Coordinator Tom Shelton discussed the benefits of the burn in an article posted on Roosevelt’s website.
“With this burn, we will be able to recycle nutrients to our native plants and get rid of many invasive species including Phragmites and Canadian Thistle,” Shelton said.
Shelton went on to discuss the the process of making sure the burn was done safely and wouldn’t harm the campuses’ land.
“We completed the work section by section making sure to fuel the fire in the opposite direction that the wind was blowing. As a result we now have a terrain that is prepared to host healthy growth of more than 50 varieties of native vegetation,” Shelton said.
The burn is being planned as an annual event but opens the door for opportunities of year long stewardships at the university. In fact, it will help get rid of weeds that have hurt the university’s chances of a prairie in the past.
Owner of Bedrock Earthscapes and landscape architect Bill Bedrossian said this is a very important factor in maintaining the success of the native plants, according to a report on Roosevelt’s website.
“We’ll be eliminating a lot of weeds out there and as result we expect that the native plants will be getting noticeably thicker,” said Bedrossian.
Bedrossian has also been working with Roosevelt since 2012, in hopes of developing the suburban campuses prairie. He also said the native plants will have major growth, and that he had high hopes for the prairies as well.
Volunteers are welcome to participate in land stewardships and native plantings this spring. The Schaumburg campus will also be planting 13 fruit trees on campus soon as well.