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abbie

executive director

ABBIE IS THE PHILOSOPHER OF THE SCHOOL

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CLEM

FLORA + FAUNA EXPERT

THE REASON WE ARE DOING THIS +

FUTURE STUDENT OF THE FIRST CLASS

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TIM

finance + facilities director

TIM IS THE ADVENTURE OF THE SCHOOL

BLUESTEM HALL RESTORATION STORY

BLUESTEM HALL IS A RESTORED MACHINE SHED ESTABLISHED IN 2016

Abbie GREW UP visiting her grandpa's farm regularly and every time found herself lost in "the shed." pouring over the antique trucks AND TRACTORS, TAPPING INTO THE FORGOTTEN TREASURES AND STORIES OF FAMILY LONG GONE. she remembers studying the structure AND GENTLE MAGNITUDE OF THE SPACE and recognized this building was undoubtedly sacred. AS A CHILD, trying to outrun the wind sweeping across the prairie on a warm day and how it always seemed to pick her up and scoot her right into the shed. how being inside felt both safe and ALIVE but it was that type of conversation that she loved and can be found exclusively with old buildings. 

Abbie went to grad school where she studied THE RESTORATION OF old buildings and got the education to design bluestem hall. ABBIE AND TIM MET AND FELL IN LOVE IN NEW YORK CITY. EVENTUALLY, THE PRAIRIE CALLED THEM HOME AND IN 2016 THEY MOVED AS THE 5TH GENERATION INTO THE FAMILY FARMHOUSE AND BEGAN BLUESTEM HALL.

 

AFTER A YEAR OF RE-ZONING, 8 MONTHS OF CONSTRUCTION, 1 CAT,  2 DOGS,  1 CHILD,  AND MANY NEW FRIENDS,  creating bluestem hall has been a labor of love. OUR BUSINESS FUNCTIONED AS A WEDDING AND EVENT VENUE UNTIL 2021 WHEN WE ARE HOSTING OUR FINAL EVENTS AND MAKING THE GREAT TRAISITION TO BEING A NATURE PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN. our time as a wedding venue helped us fine tune our business infrastructure, our building management, and our property stewardship so that we are coming into this change with confidence and excitement to align with our goals for environmentalism.

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BARNHART PRAIRIE RESTORATION STORY

BARNHART PRAIRIE IS A STATE PROTECTED NATURE PRESERVE ESTABLISHED IN 2000

THE BARNHART PRAIRIE IS A CONSERVATION EFFORT MADE POSSIBLE BY THE EFFORTS OF THE BARNHART FAMILY, THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, AND CHAMPAIGN COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION. WHAT BEGAN AS A SMALL 33 ACRE RESTORATION PROJECT IN 1987 HAS GROWN INTO 100 ACRES OF A PROTECTED MATURE NATIVE TALLGRASS PRAIRIE. THE PLANT, ANIMAL, AND INSECT (YAY BEES!) DIVERSITY AT OUR SITE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AS ONE HEALTHIEST ECOSYSTEMS IN OUR REGION. WHEN HARRY BARNHART (THE SAME MAN WHO BUILT THE SHED TOO- WHAT A GUY!) BEGAN COLLECTING NATIVE SEED BY HAND WITH HIS CHILDREN, THEY OFTEN WENT ALONG RAILROADS AND CEMETARIES TO FIND UNDISTURBED MATURE PLANTS. HAVING THAT AS THE BASIS FOR OUR ECOSYSTEM CREATED A VIBRANT AND WONDERFUL PLACE FOR NOT ONLY PLANT LIFE TO THRIVE, BUT ALSO DISPLACED ANIMALS SUCH AS DEER AND COYOTE TO HAVE A SAfE AND PROTECTED HOME.

 

THE BARNHART PRAIRIE HAS AN ACTIVE BOARD OF DIRECTORS WHO ACT AS STEWARDS OF THE LAND WORKING ON SUCH PROJECTS AS INVASIVE SPECIES CONTROL, LAND MANAGEMENT, AND THE CAPTIVATING YEARLY PRAIRIE BURN (QUITE THE SIGHT TO SEE!)

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professional images on this page by anna longworth photography AND SARA GARDNER PHOTOGRAPHY