STEM Café: Bison: Engineers of the Prairie Ecosystem

In 2014, bison were reintroduced to a 1,500-acre section of Nachusa Grasslands, a nature preserve in nearby Franklin Grove, Illinois. Since then, NIU biology professor Holly Jones has led a team of researchers in studying the impact these large mammals have on this prairie ecosystem. Their impact is even more profound than the team anticipated. The bison affect not only the prairie plants and nutrients, but also the entire food chain of the prairie ecosystem including the behaviors of small prey mammals such as mice and voles.

Join Professor Jones at our next STEM Café to learn more about the big impact of these big herbivores. The café will begin with a breakfast presentation at NIU Lorado Taft (1414 North River Road, Oregon, IL), followed by a short, guided tour of the prairie beginning at the Nachusa Grasslands Visitor Center (2075 Lowden Road, Franklin Grove, IL).


  • 9 a.m. – Arrive at NIU Lorado Taft (1414 North River Road, Oregon, IL).
  • 9 to 9:30 a.m. – Breakfast buffet served in the Lorado Taft dining hall.
  • 9:30 a.m. – Holly Jones presentation begins, followed by questions.
  • 10:45 a.m. – Depart Lorado Taft to drive to the nearby Nachusa Visitor Center (2075 Lowden Road, Franklin Grove, IL).
  • 11:15 a.m. – 45-minute tour begins at the Nachusa Center.

Cost of $20 per person includes breakfast buffet. Registration required.

Northern Illinois University STEM Cafés are part of NIU STEAM and are designed to increase public awareness of the critical role that STEM fields play in our everyday lives. They are offered in partnership with the NIU Alumni Association and made possible with support from Thermo Fisher Scientific and Bayer Fund.

Saturday, May 20 at 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

NIU Lorado Taft Field Campus
1414 North River Road, Oregon, IL

Event Type

Community Events

Target Audience

Students, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, General Public



$20 per person. Registration required.

NIU Alumni Association, NIU STEAM
Biological Sciences, Center for P-20 Engagement, Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development
Contact Name

Judith Dymond

Contact Email or Phone

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This event requires registration.