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Patricia Armstrong has a Master of Science degree from the University of Chicago in Ecology (Biology-Botany). She previously taught multitudes of nature classes at the Morton Arboretum for 16 years, plus Botany, Ecology, and Geology at the University of Wisconsin Extension, and Michigan State University's Juneau Icefield Research Program in Alaska.

Pat's knowledge and understanding of all things wild and free come from a life-long personal and intimate relationship with Nature that is passionate as well as scientific. She lives in a home she and her husband designed and built to fit into the natural ecosystems of northern Illinois. It is active and passive solar, energy-efficient, and landscaped with over 300 species of native trees, shrubs, prairie grasses and wildflowers approximately 40% of which are edible.


Pat is actively involved in living joyfully with Nature. She runs a consulting firm, PRAIRIE SUN CONSULTANTS, to educate and assist others in appreciating and using native plants and wild edible plants in home landscaping.


Pat has more than forty years of experience with the management and restoration of native ecosystems, especially prairie and woodlands. She combines her professional background in biology-ecology and her extensive practical knowledge in working with native ferns, wild flowers, grasses, and woody plants with her 50 years of teaching experience to produce programs that educate in many ways.

Land evaluation, natural landscaping, energy conservation, land management, prairie restorations, education and training of workers are some of the things she can do. Recently she has designed both interior decor and exterior landscaping to complement and enhance a passive solar model home in suburban Chicago, including a 1,500 square foot green roof of prairie plants and sedums. 

Field Biologist/Ecologist Restoration Expert

Years of field knowledge in the natural vegetation of several Midwestern states gives Pat an excellent background for evaluating land panning a restoration or natural planting, and developing management strategies to promote success. She has experience as a research-field biologist studying plants and animals in the wild, and she has managed prairies and woodlands (both natural and restored) in Illinois and Wisconsin. She has also supervised and trained hundreds of people as workers in natural land stewardship.

She knows what plants are native, their ecological amplitudes, associates, competitive advantages and disadvantages, and the best ways to grow and care for them. She also knows how to inspire and train faithful workers. 

Teacher, Lecturer, Writer

Pat Armstrong has over 50 years of teaching experience in natural history fields. She has taught in public schools, colleges, universities, private nature centers, and Arboreta. She has also written numerous articles and developed any curricula. Her enthusiasm and genuine love for nature has inspired thousands of students of all ages to appreciate plants and animals in their unique environments. She has done this by involving her students in nature both locally and by leading wilderness encounters to Southern Illinois, Northern Michigan, Isle Royale, Wisconsin, and various western states, sometimes requiring her students to backpack or canoe. She also excels as a mountaineer and technical rock climbing instructor.


Her studies of wilderness environments have led her to spend hot August days in prairies and cold January nights on mountaintops. She has camped out in all 50 states, most of Canada and Mexico, plus parts of South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, the Arctic and Antarctic. She was the first woman instructor at Michigan State University's Juneau Ice Field Research Program in Alaska, and probably the first woman ever to solo climb Mexico's four highest mountains.  

She has conducted many prairies workshops and seminars and trained hundreds of workers in prairie restoration and management. She has led several mountaineering expeditions to study and explore remote parts of the world and helped hundreds of people appreciate wilderness and learn to climb and survive in the Arctic or high alpine areas. She has taught classes on identifying lichens, mosses, wild flowers, trees, edible wild plants, native plants for landscaping, fossils, butterflies, birds, and aquatic invertebrates among other subjects and inspired scores of people in ways to interpret nature to others. Her latest book is The Wild Plant Family Cookbook (now out of print). 

Everywhere Pat goes she combines an artist's eye, a poets's pen, and a scientist's mind to product lecture-programs that are beautiful as well as educational. 

Teaching Experience
  • Washington Junior High, Naperville IL

  • The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL

  • The Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL

  • The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI

  • The Ridges, Baileys Harbor, WI

  • Seven Ponds Nature Center, Dryden, MI

  • Loess Hills Nature Association, Sioux City, IA

  • Lincoln Memorial Gardens, Springfield, IL

  • Spring Valley Nature Center, Schaumburg, IL

  • Missouri Prairie Day Teachers' Workshops, MO

  • Michigan State University, Juneau Icefield, AK

  • University of Wisconsin Extension

  • College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL

  • Naperville, St. Charles & other Park Districts 

Honors and Accomplishments
  • Over 60 articles and 4 books published

  • Award winning nature photographer and poet

  • Former Manager, Morton Arboretum Sculenberg Prairie

  • Organizer and presenter at many Northern Illinois and National Prairie Workshops and Conferences

  • Keynote speaker at Loess Hills Prairie Seminar, 1980, and Ohio Prairie Conference, 1986

  • Designer and manager or natural and restored prairies, woodlands, and wetlands at Scree and Scarp, WI

  • Designer of natural landscaping and interior decor of Prairie Sun, a passive solar model home in Naperville, IL

  • Independent researcher and contributor to the Bureau of Endangered Resources, Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory Program, Illinois Department of Conservation and Illinois Nature Preserves Commission

  • Contributor to Breeding Birds of the Baraboo Hills by Mossman and Lange, Earthly Delights by Rosalind Creasy, Midwest Gardens by Pamela Wolfe, and Flora of Sauk Co., Caledonia Twsp, Columbio Co, Southcentral WI, by Lange

  • Consultant to the Volunteer Stewardship Network of the Nature Conservancy

  • Founder and past president of the Greater DuPage Chapter of the Wild Ones Natural Landscapers, Ltd.

  • Past president and life member of the Illinois Native Plant Society

  • Consultant (rare and endangered plant surveyor) for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Advisor-consultant to the Village of Hoffman Estates & Sears Prairie Stone Headquarters 

  • Listed in Who's Who in the Midwest and Outstanding Young Women of America

  • Member of the DuPage County Environmental Commission

  • Greene Wood Aware recipient Girl Scouts of DuPage County Council, 1995

  • Outstanding Part-time Faculty Award recipient from College of DuPage, 1998

Thanks & More from Pat

Pat is extremely grateful for all the mentors and inspiration in her life. Click here to read a list written by Pat, on all she is grateful for.

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