2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – a landmark event that sparked environmental awareness across the globe. Midewin – soon to celebrate its 25th anniversary – embodies the values of Earth Day year round. Its complicated history over the past 12,000 years – from prairie to farmland to arsenal back to prairie – reflect our evolving understanding of and relationship to the land that sustains us. Joe Wheeler and Arthur Melville Pearson will share the history of Midewin and lead a conversation about prairie connections to the past and future.
Joseph Wheeler is the Prairie Archaeologist, Heritage Program Manager, and Tribal Liaison at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, USDA, Forest Service. Arthur Melville Pearson is the author of Force of Nature, an award-winning biography of George Fell, founder of The Nature Conservancy and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. A long-time volunteer at Midewin, he is currently writing a book-length history of Midewin, entitled, A Midewin Almanac.