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Fermilab PrairieBatavia, Illinois

Fermilab Prairie

Batavia, Illinois

  • Author: Mike MacDonald
  • Date Posted: Jun 1, 2016
  • Category:

Get Directions to Fermilab Prairie

Wide-open space where you can lose yourself in the towering grasses and flowering plants. Watch coyotes, scare up deer, and marvel in the wonder of this prairie reconstruction.

The sun sets over Fermilab Prairie brimming with wild bergamot, cordgrass, and big bluestem.

The sun sets over Fermilab Prairie brimming with wild bergamot, cordgrass, and big bluestem.


  • A large prairie that was reconstructed from scratch
  • Wide grassy hiking trails


  • June: Spiderwort and foxglove beardtongue
  • August: Towering compass plants

Best Times to Visit:

  • May through September for the wildflowers

Mike’s Thoughts: By the time Fermilab acquired the land during the 1960s, not an inch of original prairie remained. Most people would envision a long-lost landscape and feel regret. But Dr. Robert Betz was different. He saw possibility and a chance to heal. In 1971, Betz embarked upon a bold experiment to reconstruct the prairie from. nothing, employing the same agricultural practices that caused its demise.

Notes: Fermilab Prairie is located on government property with a guard station at every entrance. Don’t be intimidated by the security. You’ll be asked to show an ID. Ask the guard where to find the Margaret Pearson Interpretive Trail. Fermilab’s site is open to the public every day of the week from 8 am to 6 pm from November to March and from 8 am to 8 pm the rest of the year. Other prairies exist here, but located in secretive areas off limits to civilians. My hope is that someday this will change. The secrets of the prairie must be shared.

Learn more about Fermilab Prairie from these websites:

© 2016 – 2017, Mike MacDonald. All rights reserved.

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