Earth Day 2023: Remembering the Bell Bowl Prairie

On March 9th, the historic Bell Bowl Prairie of Rockford, Illinois was demolished, following an 18-month fight to save one of the “best-preserved prairies in northern Illinois.”

Just days before, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) granted permission to the Greater Rockford Airport Authority (GRAA) to break ground and proceed with the expansion of the Chicago Rockford International Airport.

The nearly 5-acre, high-quality, dry gravel prairie that sat on the property of the Rockford Airpot was home to many federally endangered species such as the rusty patched bumble bee and a plethora of grassland birds like the Northern Bobwhite, the Evening Grosbeak, and the Northern Pintail, to name only a few.

Bell Bowl was part of the less than 1% of intact Illinois prairies still remaining.

“…what confidence do we have that we are maintaining a habitat that’s a fit habitat for ourselves?”

The clip below features a short news segment about the disappearing prairies of Illinois, the rare species that inhabit them, and the efforts of “Citizen Scientists”, such as Jenny Vogt, who volunteer countless hours to collect and disseminate data on the ongoing environmental changes that threaten these imperative ecosystems.

As always, you can check out the full clip here!



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