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Urbana Park District prescribed burns help revitalize natural areas

It seems counter-intuitive. How can burning nature help nature? Native Americans on the Plains learned this technique a long time ago, and Urbana Park District will burn some natural areas in its parks this spring to rejuvenate the prairie.

The prescribed burns will begin, weather conditions permitting, starting today. The Park District plans prescribed burns this spring at Meadowbrook Park, Busey Woods, Weaver Park and at the Perkins site.

"Fire discourages trees and shrubs from invading the prairie and helps prevent the growth of other invasive plants that are not part of the prairie community," said Derek Liebert, Superintendent of Planning and Operations at Urbana Park District. "Prairie plants actually grow more vigorously if the area is burned from time to time."

Matt Balk, Natural Areas Coordinator at the Park District, plans and oversees the burns.

How will this impact park visitors?

Liebert explained, "Prescribed burn areas will be closed to visitors before and during the burn. Volunteers and staff will be on hand to help guide park visitors clear of the area."

If people have more questions, they can call Liebert at (217) 344-9583.


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