On a clear-skied Tuesday, a yellow butterfly flickered amongst purple and golden flowers. A soft breeze rolled past an array of plants and grasses, eliciting the sounds of crickets, grasshoppers, and gold finches in its wake. It was a typical day for the ecology of the Florida and Orchid Prairie, filled with the sounds of native Illinois. But for the Campus Honors House Prairie, another well-known campus conservation effort, this picture fell to a silence. The once small but deeply growing prairie that sent the sounds of insects and finches flowing down W. Oregon Street in Urbana was replaced with the quiet of freshly hoed soil and sprinkled woodchips—leaving many of us to wonder, “what happened?” As it turns out, the pursuit of an answer gave way to a much deeper issue— a balance of growth, and perspective.
A now-empty plot of woodchips covers the once overgrown Campus Honors House Prairie on Oregon Street in Urbana. Nidhi reached out to discover what happened to this conservation effort, and sought solutions to keep the effort put into it alive.