Celebrate bison, America’s National Mammal, on National Bison Day, Saturday. Local, state and federal partners will host the second annual Bison Crawl at sites throughout the Prairie State to celebrate bison, America’s National Mammal.
The purpose of the Bison Crawl is to raise awareness of the historical significance of bison and their importance to the prairies.
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., see the vivid new mural featuring bison on the time-line, and a bison bulletin board. Goose Lake will also host a tanning presentation and show a short film about the Midewin bison experiment.
Visitors can explore and learn about the prairie first-hand on unguided trail walks.
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area is located at 5010 N. Jugtown Road in Morris.
A prairie landscape watercolor workshop will take place at the Minooka Village Hall Community Room from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
In celebration of our National Mammal, learn basic watercolor techniques from artist Christine Thornton. Create a beautiful landscape painting of the prairie. Beginners are welcome.
Registration is required for this adult painting class from the Three Rivers Public Library.
To register for this program, visit the library’s website at www.trpld.org/events or contact the library at 815-467-6200. The village hall is located at 121 McEvilly Road in Minooka
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Midewin will host a ribbon cutting at the I&M Canal Corridor Map Table at the welcome center at 10 a.m. The canal provided a trade route that was key to the establishment and growth of Chicago.
Midewin will also unveil its new bison viewing scopes, sponsored by the Midewin Alliance and the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation. Visitors can meet at the Ranger Trailer at the Iron Bridge Trailhead at 1:30 p.m., with a hike to the Group 63 Trail Bison Overlook is set for 2 p.m.
Interpretive hikes will be held on both the east and west sides of Route 53 at 10 a.m. and noon. The 90 minute hikes will highlight efforts to restore the Prairie Glacial Plains, an 1,800-acre site that was marked in 2016 for seven years of accelerated restoration. Hikers will also go inside South Patrol Road Prairie, a high-quality restored prairie and wetland restoration site that is the closest example here of what Illinois prairie might have looked like when bison roamed the “Prairie State.”
Hikers should park at the lot past the River Road Seedbeds.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Midewin volunteers will also guide interpretive hikes from the Ranger Trailer to look for bison.
Midewin Archaeologist Joe Wheeler will guide interpretive additional hikes through the remains of farmsteads that were once active near land where bison now roam. Hikes will leave at 10 a.m. and noon.
The Midewin Welcome Center is located at 30239 S. Route 53 in Wilmington.
Buffalo Rock State Park and I&M Canal State Trail in Ottawa invite visitors to “hoof” it over to Buffalo Rock State Park to learn how the American bison was important to early native peoples. Meet the park’s resident bison, Pebbles. Children will have the opportunity to make their own decorated “bison hides” like indigenous people of the plains once did and learn about the cultural significance of the tradition.
The program will be delivered twice during the day, first at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. Buffalo Rock State Park is located at 1300 N 27th. Road in Ottawa.
Visitors to Starved Rock and Matthiessen State can stop in the Visitor Center at Starved Rock to get a close-up look at a real bison hide and skull. There will be activity and fact sheets for the whole family to learn about bison.
At the I&M Canal Boat and Lock 16 Visitor Center,canal boat mules Larry and Moe will celebrate National Bison Day by dressing up as bison. Visitors are welcome to come and take a selfie with Larry and Moe from 11 a.m. to
2 p.m., and later stop by the I&M Canal Visitor Center for lunch and to view the new I&M Canal exhibit. The visitor center is located at 754 1st St. in LaSalle.
The LaSalle Public Library will host stories and activities especially for children from 10:30 a.m. to noon. All youth participants will receive a free gift book for their home library. This program is free and open to the public but registration is required. The Library is ADA compliant and welcoming.
For information, or to register, please call the Library at 815-223- 2341 or visit their Facebook page or online at www.lasalle.lib.il.us.
The library is located at 305 Marquette St. in LaSalle, seven miles west of Starved Rock State Park.
Events will take place in Chicago, Willow Springs, Joliet, Springfield and Peoria. For information about National Bison Day and the Bison Crawl, visit www.fs.usda.gov.