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New Gardens Planned for Field Museum Grounds

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The Rice Native Gardens will help restore prairie wildlife to Chicago's lakeshore

Chicago’s Field Museum has revealed a planned makeover of the institution’s grass lawn along Chicago’s lakefront. Modeled on the natural prairies found throughout Illinois, the project — dubbed the Rice Native Gardens — is being made possible thanks to a gift from the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation.

According to an article by the museum’s sustainability manager Carter O’Brien appearing in the latest issue of the In the Field member’s magazine, the new landscaping goes much deeper than improved aesthetics. "The replacement of turf grass with native plants and permeable pavers will increase storm water retention and carbon absorption, reduce urban heat island effect, and improve the quality of stormwater draining into Lake Michigan by reducing fertilizer usage," explains O’Brien.

Chicago-based Site Design Group has been tapped to design the Rice Native Gardens which will feature indigenous Midwest flora and fauna in a similar fashion to the recently revamped Northerly Island, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, and Lurie Gardens at Millennium Park. Though its final configuration is still being refined, the reimagined space is also expected to include new opportunities for educational programming.

The Field Museum

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