LUREC: Falling Forward
Recently, Dr. Roberta “Bobbie” Lammers-Campbell spoke excitedly with a student, Emma Currens, about the restoration activity at the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus (LUREC). Dr. Lammers-Campbell said that Loyola’s ecologists are working towards reverting the LUREC grounds to their original ecological state through revitalization of the lake on the property. She explained that 90% of Illinois’ wetlands are depleted, which causes a threat to the ecology of the state and to the campus. Dr. Lammers-Campbell is pursuing a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service that will allow her and her team to completely remove the invasive buckthorn, which is toxic to the lake’s frogs, and also allow them to create a visitors’ boardwalk around the wetland.
LUREC’s prairie, which dates back to pre-European settlement, is also getting attention from ecologists and students. For the last several years, prairie volunteers have been working several times a month on controlled burns, tree planting, and trail forging. Prairie “Restoration Days” give students and volunteers hand-on experience with the flora while bettering the environment. Over 75 new oak trees and a newly marked trail with signage allow neighbors and visitors to enjoy the serene environment without trampling the plants. The waste from prairie restoration is burned, and researchers, led by Nancy Tuchman, Ph.D., are developing ways to recycle the burned waste into bio-fuel.
Dr. Lammers-Campbell is optimistic that both the restoration of the wetland and the transformation of the prairie will improve the ecological condition and create a peaceful oak savannah.
Harvesting Food and the New Chef
In September, everyone watched Chef Scott Cummings take his winning bows on Hell’s Kitchen, leaving LUREC’s Duchossois Food Systems Lab and Kitchen in the hands of the new head chef, John Schnupp. Since that time, Chef John and the Loyola farmers have been hard at work, planting carrots, parsnips, spinach, and arugula in the hoop-houses and greenhouse. He has also been making sure that every one of the 5,000 pounds of fresh produce from the season’s harvest is prepared for the upcoming winter. Chef has stocked the pantry with various pasta sauces, fermented cabbage, hearty root vegetables and squash.
LUREC would love to have you visit! Fall is the perfect time to gather with friends at LUREC’s new state of the art Duchossois Food Systems Lab and Kitchen. Sign up for classes or schedule a workshop here. Want to get your hands dirty? LUREC holds Restoration Days, open to everyone, twice a month. Find out more here.