A lot of time and effort has been put into restoring the prairies, ponds, and wetlands at Soulful Prairies. We've worked hand-in-hand with environmental professionals to create a conducive environment for native wildlife and plants. Through burns, brush cutting, and herbicide applications, we have seen the land recover.
Over the past years, a local farmer has helped us to restore some of the farming fields to make them crop ready. Hay fields were planted, allowing us to produce clean, organic hay for our own horses at Soulful Prairies. We have reseeded with native flowers and grasses to encourage growth of natives to hinder invasive plants. It is an amazing process to watch the land actually heal itself.
In 2013, thirty-four acres of Soulful Prairies were put into the McHenry County Land Conservancy to help preserve and protect the property. Through the Land Conservancy, we connected with Fish and Wildlife and worked with them to install a water structure in our pond.
The structure regulates the depth of the pond in order to draw native plants and birds to the area. In restoring Soulful Prairies to its native state, it is reassuring to know that it will continue to be protected for hundreds of years to come.
Endangered birds and species have been tracked over the years and we see our efforts are paying off. An endangered Blanding turtle was tracked on Soulful Prairies' property and other unique species continue to emerge as we create an environment that is conducive to their needs. Each year as we stay true to our mission of creating a healthy, natural environment, the native wildlife continues to thrive.
In 2012, we installed solar panels, generating nearly all of Soulful Prairies’ energy. As we have grown, the panels are now a smaller portion of our power source. Our home is heated and cooled using geothermal energy, a sustainable energy source. We are open to new ideas in the world of sustainability and work to do our part in supporting long-term ecological balance.
Soulful Prairies believes we must reuse all the time, recycle when there is no other option, compost what we can, and throw away as little as possible. We lead by example and hope that our visitors and guests can walk away knowing they made a small difference and perhaps learning some practices to use at home. In our effort to reduce plastic use, we have collected a variety of beautiful china, glasses and silverware that bring a flare to our events.
I am a crazy garage-sale-goer, flea-marketer, garbage-picker, and second-hand-shopper. The idea of having the opportunity to find something old or no longer in use and bring it to life again puts a grin on my face from ear to ear. Many of the materials used in the process of building and decorating at Soulful Prairies are salvaged. All our buildings have a reclaimed aspect. Each barn stall has a repurposed, beveled glass window. The wood in the office and The Barn Loft is all salvaged. The entire ceiling throughout the house is salvaged barn wood. The Cabin was built in the 1800s and is completely original, other than the mechanics.
In the process of bringing Soulful Prairies back to its natural and native state, we brought bees to the prairie. A local beekeeper now manages two hives on the property for us. The native plants, flowers, and gardens are flourishing thanks to the bees’ hard work. We are also able to enjoy honey and other bee products that are created from our own Soulful Prairies' bees. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of honey during your next visit!