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Loyola University Ecology Campus partnership yields expected and unexpected results
Midwest Region, October 25, 2017
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Native landscaping near the entrance to Loyola University's Retreat and Ecology Campus (LUREC).
Native landscaping near the entrance to Loyola University's Retreat and Ecology Campus (LUREC). - Photo Credit: FWS, M. Redmer
Dr. Roberta Lammers-Campbell (left) and Fr. Stephen Mitten, of Loyla University show the Monarch/Pollinator Garden established at LUREC, in cooperation with friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and the Chicago Field Office.
Dr. Roberta Lammers-Campbell (left) and Fr. Stephen Mitten, of Loyla University show the Monarch/Pollinator Garden established at LUREC, in cooperation with friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and the Chicago Field Office. - Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, M. Redmer
Loyola University Student volunteers (L to R): Mitch Saviola, Erin DeFrancesco, Connor Tomaka, Kevin White and Dr. Roberta Lammers-Campbell (far right), take a break from a work day cutting brush in the LUREC fen.
Loyola University Student volunteers (L to R): Mitch Saviola, Erin DeFrancesco, Connor Tomaka, Kevin White and Dr. Roberta Lammers-Campbell (far right), take a break from a work day cutting brush in the LUREC fen. - Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, M. Redmer
The first of two rusty-patched bumblebees to be found in native landscaping) in this case nectaring on blazing star (Liatris spicata) at LUREC, by student Kevin White.
The first of two rusty-patched bumblebees to be found in native landscaping) in this case nectaring on blazing star (Liatris spicata) at LUREC, by student Kevin White. - Photo Credit: Kevin White
The second of two rusty-patched bumblebees to be found in native landscaping, in this case nectaring on rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) at LUREC, by student Kevin White.
The second of two rusty-patched bumblebees to be found in native landscaping, in this case nectaring on rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) at LUREC, by student Kevin White. - Photo Credit: Kevin White

In 2011, Loyola University of Chicago acquired an off-campus facility near Woodstock, Illinois. Located approximately 45 miles northwest of the university's main campus, the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus (or LUREC) provides lab, classroom and dormitory space for students, as well as outdoor learning opportunities. A prominent feature of the campus is an approximately 20 acre fen/wetland complex.

In 2013, the Service's Chicago Field Office began working with Loyola faculty to plan and assist with enhancement of the LUREC fen. The fen project received cost-share funding assistance through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and used both student workers and contracted specialists to conduct invasive species removal as well as other habitat enhancement. LUREC students also got opportunities to monitor and conduct studies on the botanical and wildlife response to project implementation. As expected, following removal of invasive species (especially Eurasian buckthorn), a suite of native wetland plants (including some conservative species) responded and are re-populating the area from the pre-existing seedbank.

A second project funded by the Chicago Field Office, in cooperation with Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, established a pollinator/monarch butterfly garden in the more formally landscaped areas around the LUREC buildings. In late July and early August an observant LUREC student named Kevin White made an unexpected discovery. While monitoring pollinators on campus, White photographed and reported the recently listed (federally endangered) rusty-patched bumblebee on two separate occasions, as a likely invividual, or individuals gathered nectar from native plants in and around the pollinator garden and in pre-exisiting landscape.

The Service and Loyola Faculty continue to discuss future partnership, educational, and habitat restoration opportunities at LUREC, as well as at the nearby and recently established Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge as it continues to come online.


Contact Info: Michael Redmer, 847-381-2253, Mike_Redmer@fws.gov
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