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Thunderbird: a JDCF Safari

June 15 @ 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Day 1:  Archaeologist and historian, Dr. Phil Millhouse, will guide a half-day safari of one of the most significant Native American cultural sites in all of Illinois, featuring the last known intact Thunderbird effigy mound in the state.  Your safari begins with coffee, tea, and homemade pastries, as Phil tells you the amazing story of the mound builder society, creators of the Thunderbird.

Then, your safari will traverse the stunning landscape of JDCF’s Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve, overlooking the Mississippi and just minutes from downtown Galena, where you will view the Thunderbird along with many other burial mounds in the Aiken Mound group, which are still visible today.  Your tour of the site includes wilderness trails where native and edible plants and a variety of wildlife can also be viewed.

Day 2: Your safari location moves to an archaeological dig at nearby Gratiot’s Grove, Wisconsin, outside of Shullsburg, just over the border with Illinois. There you will join Phil and students from Syracuse University who are excavating a complex French American and Ho-Chunk Native American settlement on the lead mining frontier of the 1820’s.

Walking on uneven ground will be required at both sites. Our safaris are suitable only for children 12 and older.  This is a rain or shine safari, and unfortunately, we cannot offer refunds.

Day 1: Saturday, June 15, 8:00 am to Noon
Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve, 870 S Pilot Knob Rd, Galena
Day 2: Sunday, June 16, 9:00 am to Noon
Gratiot’s Grove, Shullsburg Wisconsin
(maps and directions will be provided when you sign up)

$50 per person/$35 per person for JDCF members.  RSVP to info@nulljdcf.org to sign up.



June 15
8:00 am - 12:00 pm


Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve
870 S Pilot Knob Road
Galena, IL
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Physical Address

126 N. Main Street
Elizabeth, Illinois 61028

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 216
Elizabeth, Illinois 61028-0216




(815) 858-9100 (voice)