The Forest Preserve District is chipping in some fun to help celebrate National Bison Day on Saturday, November 3, with prairie hikes and a bison chip throwing contest.
The District is co-hosting a Bison Crawl with Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. The event features five stops that will provide educational and entertaining activities to celebrate America's national mammal. Two Hounds Antiques, the Manhattan-Elwood Public Library and the Wilmington Public Library also are participating.
Five Bison Crawl Stops:
Forest Preserve District, Sugar Creek Administration Center – Thirty-minute prairie ecology hikes will take place on Sugar Creek's paths at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. After each hike, "Little House on the Prairie" style bison chip throwing contests will take place. The person who throws the chip the farthest will win a prized bison skull donated by Ruhter Bison Farm in Newman, Illinois. Visitors also will be able to view a bison pelt, horns, jaw and shoulder bone. Staff will be on site to talk all things bison and to lead the hikes, which will highlight the bison's role in the prairie ecosystem. A representative from Ruhter Bison Farm, Prairie Rim Ranch, will be on hand to talk about the farm's history, practices and products.
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie – Visit the Iron Bridge Trailhead, located on the east side of Route 53 between Elwood and Wilmington, to look for the bison herd that roams over 1,000 acres. The herd arrived in 2015 as an experiment to see if the bovines' grazing patterns will encourage the return of native Illinois prairie plants. At the Welcome Center, Bison Crawl participants can view a film that shows the bison herd's arrival and touch a bison pelt.
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Two Hounds Antiques, 315 N. Water St., Wilmington – Vendors with hot and cold food, bison goods and handmade leather goods will be on hand. Also, John Gardener will talk about the importance of bees and beekeeping.
Manhattan-Elwood and Wilmington Public Libraries: Both libraries will host bison learning stations for the two weeks before Bison Day and on the actual day. Books and movies about bison will be curated into the displays.
If you can't make the Bison Crawl, Midewin has a bison cam and the video feed can be accessed from the agency's website.
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