In the process of bringing Soulful Prairies back to its natural and native state, we came across bee keeper Wes Nelson. We currently have two hives on our property that Wes manages. The native plants, flowers and gardens are flourishing thanks to all the hard work the bees have put in. We are also able to enjoy honey and other bee products that are created from our own Soulful Prairies bees.
* Wes and Jill Nelson Marengo IL #815-451-2175
Birds, Turtles and Other Wildlife
Soulful Prairies is the home to many birds, turtles and other interesting wildlife. We have been annually tracking endangered birds and unique species. An endangered Blanding turtle was tracked on the property. As we continue to restore the land, the native wildlife will thrive and be protected at Soulful Prairies
A lot of time and effort has been put into restoring the prairies, ponds and wetlands. McConnel Environmental has worked hand in hand with us to create a conducive environment for native wildlife and plants. Through burns, brush cutting and herbicide applications, we have begun to see the land recover. In some areas we have reseeded with native flower and grass seed to encourage growth of natives and decrease the growth of invasive plants. It is an amazing process to watch the land actually heal itself. Burn photo gallery
The Land Conservancy
In 2013, thirty four acres of Soulful Prairies was put into the McHenry County Land Conservancy. The Land Conservancy works to help land owners preserve and protect their property. The Land Conservancy also helped connect Soulful Prairies with Fish and Wildlife who installed a water structure in our pond. This structure will help regulate the depth of the pond in order to draw native plants and birds to the area. The goals of these organizations are in keeping with our hopes for this eight acre piece of land. In restoring Soulful Prairies to its native state it is reassuring to know that it will continue be protected for hundreds of years to come.
In 2012 six apple trees were planted. We kept them going through the drought and they are coming along nicely. We should begin to sow the fruits of our labor in the next few years and plan to add more apple and other sorts of fruit trees over the years.
When we purchased the property in 2009 the land had previously been used for a multitude of purposes one of which was growing nursery stock and pines for Christmas trees and wreathes. Over the years we have invited family and friends to join us at Soulful Prairies and cut a trees and make wreaths for the holidays. The remaining stock is overgrown. We have begun the process of thinning and replanting a variety of pines.
Over the past years a local farmer has helped us to restore some of the farming fields to make them crop ready. In the fall of 2013 hay fields were planted. We will be producing organic clean hay for our own horses at Soulful Prairies.
Solar and Sustainability
In 2012 solar panels were installed. At this time the panels create the majority of the power used here. As we continue to add structures the goal will be to add necessary panels and to seek out other sources to create a virtually self-sustaining environment.
Soulful Prairies is also working hard to minimize garbage, use recycling as an alternative but foremost reuse. We have dishes and glassware that can be used at events and ask that plastic plates and silverware are not purchased for use. We continue to look for alternate options in all areas of waste.
Many of the materials used in the process of building and decorating the barn are salvaged from other barns, resale shops, flea markets and estate sales. We are dedicated to using what is already here whenever possible instead of buying new.