Bison, Blackberries

I think natural animals and plants should be used more. Learn to hunt and gather. Probably much healthier for consumers. And better for the environment. Bison thrived before herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and other chemicals became necessary. People can do some work on the natural environment to increase yields. For example, I like blackberries, black walnuts, persimmons, wild garlic, etc. It would not be hard to plant some more. They grow all over here naturally. Bees can help pollinate natural plants. I never tried beekeeping but I bet that bees are easier than Bison!

Bison thrive on the Illinois prairie; 14 calves born

CHICAGO • Love is in the air for bison on an Illinois prairie.

The Chicago Tribune reports that after being reintroduced to the Nachusa Grasslands, there are obvious signs the bison are introducing themselves to each other.

Fourteen bison calves were born this past spring at the 3,500-acre grasslands about 95 miles west of Chicago that’s owned by The Nature Conservancy. The births bring the number of bison in the area to 44.

"They’re doing well," Nachusa project director Bill Kleiman said of the growing herd, which grew a bit more Wednesday with the birth of another calf. "They look just like they belong, which they do."

The project started in October when bison were trucked in from Broken Kettle Grasslands near Sioux City, Iowa. It is one of several efforts dating to the 1900s to restore the bison after hunting and mass slaughter nearly wiped out the bison population throughout the United States in the 1800s.

Today, an estimated 450,000 bison live in this country, and the project is one of a few that has brought bison back to Illinois and other areas east of the Mississippi River nearly two centuries after they were last seen there.

The bison are apparently helping to bring other wildlife back to the region. Nachusa restoration ecologist Cody Considine said researchers are seeing more mice and voles building nests in bison hair. And he said the insects attracted to the bison are, in turn, attracting swallows that he said can be seen hovering over the herd.

The bison also are helping to bring something else to the area: money. The conservancy’s Illinois director, Michelle Carr, said that since the bison arrived, the number of donations has increased 50 percent. That money has just about covered the $1.3 million it cost to bring the bison to Nachusa and prepare the prairie for them.

It also is bringing lots of visitors, with Considine saying he is "swamped with giving tours" to individuals and groups such as the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club.

Bison thrive on the Illinois prairie; 14 calves born


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