The Highway Expedition reveals the I-74 right-of-way in Central Illinois to be a valuable habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. This seed dispersal program, created in collaboration with The Society for a Re-Natural Environment (SRNE), enables individuals who travel the interstate highway corridor to take action to improve the roadside habitat for themselves and the animals that live there. We are inviting the highway travelling public to help us disperse native plant seeds into the I-74 right-of-way from the windows of their moving vehicles.

WHAT: Seed balls are an ancient and effective way to plant seeds in a wide variety of habitats. They are a mixture of terra cotta clay, compost, and seeds. The ones we distribute for use in the I-74 corridor contain a mixture of approximately 40 different flowering prairie plants native to this region. These plants were once common throughout much of this landscape and filled an ecological niche in a scene that now lacks diversity.

WHY: By dispersing seed balls filled with native flower seeds into the right-of-way, we can create an improved habitat and beautify the roadside. The SRNE does not propose that non-natives can be eradicated from this site but wishes to increase the percentage of native species co-existing in the right-of-way spaces. This change will support larger numbers of existing right-of-way animals and may attract more diverse animal life to the site. The SRNE believes the overall increase of regionally depleted populations is beneficial, even in sites where animals might be killed by passing vehicles.

HOW: Participants were offered seed balls at an exhibition in Champaign, IL with a request for a small voluntary donation. To disperse, passengers traveling the highway simply toss the seed balls from their moving vehicles as far as they can into the I-74 right-of-way habitat.

The seed ball packages are currently unavailable. Interested parties can inquire about how to acquire more or request instructions or how to produce their own by emailing See the seedball package label with list of plants used here.

WHERE: The focus of this activity is intended for the I-74 right-of-way between Bloomington and Champaign, Illinois. Anywhere along this section of right-of-way is fine; the best spots are where ground has been disturbed or soil exposed due to traffic accidents or construction activities. We recommend that you throw the seed balls as far as possible because IDOT will mow the first 8 to 12 feet of right-of-way along most of this route.

WHEN: The best planting times are early spring and late fall. You may store seed balls in a refrigerator or any other cool, dry place until the appropriate time of year for planting.

CAUTION: If you are driving, you should not participate in this activity