A Backyard Prairie: The Hidden Beauty of Tallgrass and Wildflowers

By Fred Delcomyn, PhD '69 (biology), and James L. Ellis 

In 2003 Fred Delcomyn imagined his backyard of two-and-a-half acres, farmed for corn and soybeans for generations, restored to tallgrass prairie. Over the next seventeen years, Delcomyn, with help from his friend James L. Ellis, scored, seeded, monitored, reseeded, and burned these acres into prairie. In A Backyard Prairie, they document their journey and reveal the incredible potential of a backyard to travel back to a time before the wild prairie was put into plow rows. It has been said, “Anyone can love the mountains, but it takes a soul to love the prairie.” This book shows us how.

The book won a Best of Illinois History Award for 2022, presented by the Illinois State Historical Society.

South Illinois University Press, 2021