One of Knox College's most valued traditions is the annual spring Prairie Burn, which brings together students from all disciplines in a prairie restoration project that inspired the name for Knox College's "Prairie Fire" athletic teams.
The Prairie Burns, first conducted in the 1950s by Knox professor Paul Shepard, protect prairie grasses from intrusions of woodland scrub and competition with "exotic" species that have been introduced to Illinois from other regions or countries -- to the detriment of organisms that have evolved over millions of years in delicate balance with the environment and each other.
The Prairie Burns at Green Oaks are one of the factors making Green Oaks one of the oldest restored tallgrass prairie in North America.
Highlights from a recent Prairie Burn:
Professor Stuart Allison plans the burn with students and faculty.
Professor Allison watches while Alicia Young sets a field on fire. Other students at rear maintain the fire line.
A student controls the edge of the burn.
Blackened fields will heat up more quickly, and native prairie plants are better adapted to fire than non-native species.
Knox's Team X-Ray places second among 15 liberal arts colleges that competed in an intense regional contest involving programming teams from colleges and universities in five states.
Finals and term projects can be more than tests and papers, as Knox College faculty make engaging assignments and exams -- including design your own superhero -- to evaluate student academic achievements.
A Knox College graduate and vice president of development at the Greater Peoria Business Alliance, Jim Lynch is among the young leaders recognized by InterBusiness Issues magazine.