Scientific Staff

Mary-Claire Glasenhardt

Prairie Restoration Research Assistant

Content Detail

Mary-Claire’s knowledge and passion for Midwestern ecosystem restoration guides her work as a prairie restoration research assistant at the Arboretum.

Mary-Claire has dedicated most of her professional life to working in wetlands, woodlands, savannas, and endangered tallgrass prairies. She is a knowledgeable resource on local plant species and controlling noxious invasive weeds. Mary-Claire collaborates with individuals at all levels of expertise in order to expand awareness of our imperiled species and ecotypes, as well as sharing in the diversity of Illinois plants in all of their abundant variety and color.

Mary-Claire helped set up the Ware Field Experimental Prairie, which tests the effects of phylogenetic and functional trait diversity in tallgrass prairies. The Ware Field Experimental Prairie is a colorful patchwork of 400+ 4m2 plots which replaced an acre of old field with 127 prairie species in a dizzyingly complex arrangement in order to tease apart these hidden interactions.

In summer of 2016, the site was cleared of existing vegetation, a numbered permanent grid laid out, and baseline soil data collected. In the fall, 19,000+ prairie plugs were installed with the helping hands of 40+ crucial volunteers. Since then, Mary-Claire has devoted herself to maintaining these plots, collecting critical data, and managing all the many individuals who continue to make this experiment fruit- and flowerful.