Lockport Prairie, a State Nature Preserve is a small remnant of a unique prairie type that occurred on thin soils over dolomitic limestone bedrock, mainly in the Des Plaines River floodplain. A high water table and unusual soil properties create a variety of wet to dry habitats that support both common and uncommon species. The preserve is owned and managed (with much help from volunteers) by the Forest Preserve District of Will County. At one point it was considered as a spoils dump for an expansion of the nearby Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Now under Illinois Nature Preserve protection, its greatest threats are invasive plants and altered hydrology. In this view, with a thunderstorm as a backdrop, gradations of color denote habitat transitions across the floodplain. I took some artistic license to extend the prairie up the bank of the bluff as I imagine it might have in the past.
Painted on location. Canvas mounted to hardboard.
May 1 - September 12, 2021
Chicago Botanic Garden
Published in conjunction with Philip’s 2021 exhibition at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Contributors include: Philip Juras, artist and author; Hank Paulson, foreword; and Stephen Packard, essay. Published by Little Bluestem Press, Athens, GA, 2021.