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Restoration Effort Returns Prairie Meadow to Its Roots

TSPR's Emily Boyer

A two-acre vacant lot near the Old Macomb Cemetery is beginning to look the way it did hundreds of years ago.

Volunteers with the McDonough County Historical Society have planted more than 750 donated prairie plants just south of the cemetery.

The society’s Gil Belles says the plants were leftover from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s highway beautification efforts.  

“We’re really trying to get back to a natural look without necessarily just clover weeds," Belles said. "Try to reproduce the flowers that were native to the late 19th century when this was a prairie.”

Last year, 14 donated trees were planted in the area. Belles says they also plan to add benches and a pedestrian pathway.

The Rezab Family Prairie Meadow project is part of a larger effort to restore the Old Macomb Cemetery which dates back to 1830.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.