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General Information for Field Trip Participants

Field trips are scheduled for Tuesday, July 19, 2016.  You may choose either full day or half day, morning or afternoon.  Capacity for each trip is limited, and assignment is by first received, first assigned.  Indicate 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice on the registration form.  A trip may be cancelled if minimum participation is not met. 

Please dress appropriately for the weather.  Trips will not be cancelled due to rain. No shorts or open-toed shoes, please.  A hat and long sleeve shirt for sun protection are recommended.  Bring water, sunscreen and insect repellant.  A box lunch will be provided for all field trip attendees.  All trips are scheduled to return before the evening barbecue. 

All out-of-town trips will be transported by bus and field trip leaders will either accompany the group or meet them on site.  

For two field trips, Urban Prairie Re-creations (# 8) and Weston Cemetery/Franklin Farm (#13), attendees are asked to car-pool, as location parking is limited.  If you can drive, please indicate on the registration form.

Transportation fees are based on cost of travel and bus rental.  Carpoolers are encouraged to donate to the driver’s gas fund, in lieu of a field-trip charge. 

Departure time from campus and specific instructions for each of these trips will be sent closer to the conference date. 

Estimated degree of difficulty for trips is presented, based on ease of access, length of hike, and whether trails are available: E - Easy walking; M - Moderate hiking, A -  Advanced, no cut trails or long hike.  However, Illinoisans are proud of our glaciated landscape with generally relatively flat terrain.       

You are encouraged to read more information about each site below:

  • #1. Knox College Green Oaks Biological Field Station (E-M) *
  • #2. Nachusa Grasslands (M-A) *
  • #3. TNC Kankakee Sands (A) *
  • #4. Central Illinois Cemetery Prairies, Grand Prairie Friends (E-M) *
  • #5.  Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (M) *
  • #6.  Goose Lake Prairie State Park and Natural Area (M) *
  • #7.  Sand Prairie-Scrub Oak Nature Preserve (M-A) *
  • #8.  Bloomington-Normal Urban Prairie Re-Creations (E) *+
  • #9. ParkLands Foundation Letcher Basin/Ridgetop Prairie Nature Preserve (M-A) ~
  • #10.  ParkLands Foundation Merwin Preserve/Franklin Farm (M) ~
  • #11.  Sugar Grove Nature Center at Funk’s Grove (E) ~
  • #12. Funk Prairie Home Museum (E) ~
  • #13.  Weston Cemetery Prairie and Franklin Farm (E-M) ~+
  • #14. ParkLands Foundation Letcher Basin/Ridgetop Prairie Nature Preserve (M-A) ^
  • #15.  ParkLands Foundation Merwin Preserve/Franklin Farm (M) ^
  • #16.  Sugar Grove Nature Center at Funk’s Grove (E) ^
  • #17.  Funk Prairie Home Museum (E) ^

* = Full day field trips. Transportation charge: $12.00
~ = Half-day field trips, mornings. Transportation charge: $6.00.
^ = Half-day field trips, afternoons. Transportation charge: $6.00
+ = Car pool field trip. No transportation charge. 
 

Limit 40. Depart 8:00 AM, return 3:30 PM.
Leader: Stuart Allison, Knox College

“Located near the Spoon River in eastern Knox County, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of the Knox campus, Green Oaks is both a research and recreation area. It encompasses 700 acres (283 hectares) of forest, grassland and aquatic habitat and is the second site in the nation where a tallgrass prairie was restored.” About 200 acres of the site was developed on reclaimed strip mine land. The rest was in agriculture or second growth forest at the time Knox acquired the property. The restored prairies occupy about 40 acres. Well-developed trails make access easy. The prairie was established under the direction of Professors Paul Shepard and George Ward, and further expanded by Dr. Peter Schramm, who is credited with establishing the North American Prairie Conference tradition. 

https://www.knox.edu/academics/majors-and-minors/biology/green-oaks

Limit 90. Depart 7:30 AM, return 4:00 PM.
Leader: Bill Kleiman, TNC

This macrosite prairie and savanna restoration, developed by The Nature Conservancy in Ogle and Lee Counties in northern Illinois, was recently the recipient of the first wild bison to be reintroduced into Illinois in 200 years. “The 3,500-acre Nachusa Grasslands preserve consists of large remnant prairie, woodlands, and wetlands being reconnected through habitat restoration to create one of the largest and most biologically diverse grasslands in Illinois. Working hand–in–hand with Conservancy staff, a dynamic community of volunteer stewards collect and plant seeds, manage invasive species, repair wetlands, and conduct controlled burns in order to preserve, protect, and share this precious endangered ecosystem.” Bring binoculars to have a chance to observe bison and birds.

http://www.nachusagrasslands.org/

Limit 40. Depart 7:30 AM. Return 4:00 PM.
Leader: Fran Harty, TNC

This Nature Conservancy site in northeast Illinois and Indiana was formerly a private hunting preserve and remained largely undeveloped. The sandy soil supports one of the largest “globally significant oak barrens, prairies and sedge meadows. This region offers rich habitat for birds and small animals. The Mskoda Sands preserve contains some of the best examples of black oak barrens in the Midwest. Unspoiled sand dunes and swales stretch as far as the eye can see.” The rolling sandy landscape is managed with controlled burning and exotic species control.

http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/illinois/placesweprotect/kankakee-sands-1.xml

Limit 20. Depart 8:00 AM. Return 3:00 PM.
Leaders: Jamie Ellis, INHS; Beckie Green and Pam Leiter

The conversion of the east-central Illinois landscape from prairie to agriculture was almost devastatingly complete except for a few, small places. Sacred spaces. Unplowed prairie found in pioneer cemeteries represents the best examples of original vegetation communities. These biological gems provide the basis of many of the ideas of what was lost and what should be re-created. Join volunteers with Grand Prairie Friends to explore the stunning biological diversity found at Loda Cemetery Prairie and Prospect Cemetery Prairie nature preserves and talk about management and conservation challenges. 

http://grandprairiefriends.org/stewardsites/loda.php
http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/INPC/Pages/Area3IroquoisLodaCemeteryPrairie.aspx
http://grandprairiefriends.org/stewardsites/prospect.php
http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/INPC/Pages/Area6FordProspectCemeteryPrairie.aspx

Limit 40. Depart 8:00 AM. Return 3:30 PM.
Leader: Bill Glass, USFS, and others
 

Where people and the prairie restore each other--In 1996 the US Forest Service established the first National Tallgrass Prairie just one hour from Chicago. In cooperation with the National Forest Foundation, local conservation groups and numerous volunteers, the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant was transformed to more natural native landscape to provide one of only a few very large tracts of prairie in Illinois. At establishment it was a home to rare Upland Plovers, a bird requiring extensive areas and low vegetation for successful nesting. More recently the goal of restoring 3000 acres of native tallgrass prairie ecosystem has benefitted from the work of numerous partners and volunteers, culminating in the recent arrival of 27 American bison at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Midewin has examples of the globally rare dolomite prairie. Visitors to Midewin can enjoy a visitor’s center and miles of trails. Wildlife on Midewin includes many birds that require large areas, endangered and threatened species of plants, birds, mammals, and reptiles.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/midewin/home

CANCELLED

Limit 40. Depart 8:00 AM. Return 3:30 PM.
Leaders: Angella Moorehouse, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission; Ray Geroff, IDNR Natural Heritage District Biologist

Located in Mason County, near Bath, IL, the sand deposits remaining from the glacial outwash of the Illinois River provide unique habitat in Illinois. No permanent trails are established, except for fire breaks, where available. In addition to supporting unique ecosystems, the sandy deposits are recharge areas for the Mahomet Aquifer that serves a large part of central Illinois. In extremely wet years, temporary ponds support unique vegetation.

“This preserve is a mixture of dry sand prairie, dry sand savanna and dry sand forest. Little bluestem, goats rue, eastern prickly pear cactus, sand love grass and porcupine grass characterize the sand prairie. Blowouts, areas of actively moving sand, are sites where beach grass, three-awn grass and Mohlenbrock's sedge may be found. Blackjack and black oaks plus mockernut and black hickories are present in the forest. Due to the arid nature of the soils, these trees remain small and "scrubby". Prairie plants are often present in the herbaceous understory of the forested land.

Lark sparrows nest in the sand prairies which also provide homes for badgers, pocket gophers, western hognose snakes and many insects that are more typical of western states.”

http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/INPC/Pages/Area5MasonSandPrairieScrubOak.aspx

Limit 15 cars, about 30 people. Depart 8:00 AM. Return 4:30 PM.
Leaders: Sherrie Snyder, Wild Ones Illinois Chapter; David Lamb, Bloomington Parks and Recreation
This trip is by carpool, with no transportation charge. Participants will assemble at the Mennonite Church of Normal, 805 South Cottage Ave., Normal, IL.

8:00 AM: Mennonite Church prairie 
Matthew Hickman, Mennonite Church Youth Minister
Leave extra cars here for the day.

9:30 AM: Tipton Trails Bloomington (2201 Stone Mountain Blvd., Bloomington, IL, E. College Ave. between Stone Mountain Blvd and Airport Rd.)
David Lamb, Bloomington Parks and Recreation
This is a subdivision, incorporating a large prairie re-creation as a city park, integrating storm water control.

12:30 – 4:30PM: The Grove(East of Bloomington on Ireland Grove Road).
David Lamb, Bloomington Parks and Recreation
Meet with David Lamb and representatives of the developers. The Grove subdivision surrounds ecologically sensitive Kickapoo Creek which has a watershed that would potentially be damaged by inappropriate development. This award-winning and precedent-setting development provides re-created prairie and wetland surrounding the creek and successfully manages storm water retention from the subdivision in a design that incorporates a school, a city park and 85 acres of open space returned to prairie vegetation in a rapidly growing urban area. Be prepared for wet vegetation and shallow water. No restrooms are available here.

Return to Mennonite Church at the end of the day.

http://www.wtvp.org/programming/ai2-2301.asp
http://mcleanwater.org/project-showcase/the-grove-on-kickapoo-creek/

CANCELLED

Limit 15. Depart 8:00 AM, Return 12:30 PM.
Leaders (Merwin): Jason Shoemaker, ParkLands Steward; Roger Anderson, ParkLands Foundation and Illinois State University
Leaders (Franklin Farm): Maria Lemke and Krista Kirkham, TNC

ParkLands Foundation is a private organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and restoring natural lands along the middle and upper Mackinaw River, primarily in McLean and Woodford Counties. More than 3,000 acres are currently managed, including remnant and restored prairies, savannas, forests and wetlands.

The Merwin savanna is a dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve on the north side of the Mackinaw River, and includes an 11 acre savanna, a high quality hill prairie on the north slope of the river and adjacent bottomland forest. West of Lexington, IL, the Merwin Preserve is the central tract of the ParkLands Foundation holdings. Important bird species include summer tanagers, red-headed woodpeckers, and eastern towhees.

The Franklin Farm demonstration area, west of Lexington, is a Nature Conservancy project, including a good quality restored prairie, and a demonstration area to investigate nutrients on agricultural land. Experimental drainage areas and ponds have been established to study the problems of nitrogen and phosphorus runoff to water ways that ultimately reach the dead zone of the Gulf of Mexico. On this privately owned farm numerous research projects are conducted by university researchers, and the site serves to educate the agricultural community and the public.

http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/INPC/Pages/Area5McLeanMerwinSavanna.aspx 
http://www.nature.org/photos-and-video/video/innovative-conservation-the-franklin-demonstration-farm

Limit 20. Depart 8:30 AM. Return 12:15 PM.
Leaders: Angela Funk, Nature Center Director; Don Schmidt and Bethany Evans, Illinois State University

Sugar Grove Nature Center is located in Funks Grove among over 1,100 acres of high quality natural area, most of which are protected as registered Illinois Land & Water Reserves or dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves. Funks Grove is the largest remaining intact prairie grove in the state of Illinois and portions have been designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. Over seven miles of trails take visitors through prairie and woodland habitats. Participants will visit the outstanding Nature Center facility, unique site features, and nationally recognized nature play area. Time will be spent exploring the prairie reconstruction projects, reforestation efforts, and virgin timber.

http://www.sugargrovenaturecenter.org/

CANCELLED

Limit 15. Depart 8:00 AM. Return 12:30 PM.
Leaders: Chris Benda, INHS (Weston); Maria Lemke and Krista Kirkham, TNC (Franklin Farm)
This trip is by carpool, with no transportation charge.

Located in the far northeast of McLean County, Weston Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve is a small representative of black-soil prairies in pre-agricultural Illinois. This pioneer cemetery was preserved unplowed by the township, but only part of the area was used for burial. It is noted for an extremely rich flora, including prairie gentians, compass plants, prairie dropseed, tickseeds, as well as big and little bluestems and several aster and goldenrod species. The prairie is next to a railroad right-of-way on the north and agricultural fields on three sides.

The Franklin Farm demonstration area, west of Lexington, is a Nature Conservancy project, including a good quality restored prairie, and a demonstration area to investigate nutrients on agricultural land. Experimental drainage areas and ponds have been established to study the problems of nitrogen and phosphorus runoff to water ways that ultimately reach the dead zone of the Gulf of Mexico. On this privately owned farm numerous research projects are conducted by university researchers, and the site serves to educate the agricultural community and the public.

https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/INPC/Pages/Area5McLeanWestonCemeteryPrairie.aspx 
http://www.nature.org/photos-and-video/video/innovative-conservation-the-franklin-demonstration-farm

CANCELLED

CANCELLED

CANCELLED

CANCELLED

2016-07-07T12:01:34.91-05:00 2016