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Upcoming Events

Our 2019 calendar of events is taking shape. We have some exciting new outings planned in addition to our signature events of Camp Casper, Potluck and Program Series, Moonlight Frog Walk, and Meteors on the Mound.  Scroll through and mark your calendars today!

March 2019


JDCF Annual Meeting with Lydia Scott, Director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative at the Morton Arboretum

The public is invited to attend JDCF’s annual meeting for an interactive social hour, election and re-election of board members, and the announcement of the recipient of the 2018 Nancy Hamill Winter Conservation Leadership Award.  Our keynote speaker will be Lydia Scott, Director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative and Manager of Community Trees Program at the Morton Arboretum.  She will discuss the Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan, the importance of oak ecosystems that are part of our natural heritage, and how private landowners are key to preserving and protecting these ecosystems today. Only 17% of these oak ecosystems remain and they are quickly being converted to other land uses, becoming overtaken by invasive species, losing access to sunlight, succumbing to excessive browse, and experiencing low age diversity. Without actions now these ecosystems will be lost for future generations. The Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan provides a framework and actionable strategies that everyone can be part of resulting in enhancement, protection, and preservation of oak ecosystems for the future.  $45/person includes a buffet dinner with vegetarian option.  Cash bar available.

April 2019

JDCF’s Biggest Tree Contest

You may hear people speak of them reverently. You might catch word of a “big tree,” an important tree, a “Champion Tree.” But what does this mean?

JDCF is sponsoring a Biggest Tree Contest to recognize the largest tree within each of the designated native tree species that grow in Carroll, Jo Daviess, and Stephenson Counties. Gather the family and head outside to discover, record, and appreciate the largest native tree species in our forests, parks, and front yards from April 1st through October 1st, 2019. We hope that in searching for these champion trees, you will become more aware of the beauty and importance of Illinois’ native trees. Information about the contest can be found here:  Big Tree Rack Card


Wine & Woodcocks Viewing Party

Bring a lawn chair, blanket, and beverage of choice and join us at dusk to learn about and view woodcocks at JDCF’s Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary.  It is a half mile hike to the viewing area and an ATV will be available for those needing assistance. A flashlight may be helpful for the walk back and long pants are recommended.  This is the time of year for the woodcock mating call and dance.  The event will be cancelled if it is raining. $10 for non-members of JDCF.

Moonlight Frog Walk

Bring the whole family for an adventure along the levee in Galena, an early evening frog walk beginning on the east side of the Meeker Street footbridge adjacent to the Galena River Trail in downtown Galena, IL. The event begins at 6:00 pm. Learn all about frogs and toads, join us in a toast to spring, and then take part in a guided hike down the trail to see how many frogs we can see and hear. Participants will learn about the difference between frogs and toads as well as how to identify them by their sound or “call”. Parking is available on Park Avenue and Jefferson Street in Galena. This is a catch and release event.

May 2019

Calling all Volunteers: Spring Bird Count 2019

Do you have an interest in birds?  Can you identify most of those that visit your backyard?
Would you like to have the chance to see many new and different species in a single day in the company of an experienced birder?

We are seeking volunteers on Saturday, May 4th, to join a day-long Spring Bird Count project in Jo Daviess County. You will have the opportunity to be teamed with experienced birders and learn about the hundreds of species that migrate through our area each spring while you travel the scenic back roads of Jo Daviess County.

Spring Bird Count (SBC) is an annual citizen-science event that brings together birders from every county in every state across the country.  It is particularly interesting in Jo Daviess County because of our location on the Mississippi Flyway. More than 325 bird species make the round-trip each year along the Mississippi Flyway, from their breeding grounds in Canada and the northern United States to their wintering grounds along the Gulf of Mexico and in Central and South America. It is the busiest migration corridor in North America.

What will you do? As a member of a 3 to 4-person team, you will drive and walk your assigned territory from early morning to late afternoon. Armed with binoculars, a map, and a clipboard, your team will identify, count, and tally every bird you see or hear. At the end of the day all teams gather to report on their findings, share stories, libations, and a potluck meal.

iNaturalist Workshop with Cassi Saari

Become a citizen scientist at our iNaturalist Workshop! iNaturalist is an online community of people recording and sharing their observations of the natural world. Whether your a total nature-nerd or just simply going for a walk, your observations of the natural world can help generate scientifically valuable biodiversity data. In this workshop, you will learn the basics of using the iNaturalist app and website and practice recording observations at one of our preserves. iNaturalist Curator, Cassi Saari, is an ecological field consultant and field botanist in the Chicago region. She is the current president of the Northeast Illinois Native Plant Society and studied environmental science, plant biology, and conservation biology at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She has become a familiar face on iNaturalist so some of you may recognize her name! The workshop will be held at the Galena Center for the Arts. Limited seats available. RSVP to educator@nulljdcf.org.  $10 for non-members of JDCF.

What to bring to the “iNat” workshop:

Sack lunch
Refillable water bottle
Sturdy outdoor shoes
Weather appropriate clothing (dress in layers!)
Smartphone/digital camera

Ice Cream Social

Join us for an old-fashioned ice cream social under the new pavilion at the Wapello Land & Water Reserve.  The Friends of Wapello will be on hand to give guided tours of the site.

June 2019


Birding 101

At the Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary, a team of expert birders will guide instructional tours of the preserve at this new event for 2019. It is open to the public, free for members and $10 for non-members (minimum membership is $35 annually). Novices are encouraged to join! Anybody ages 10+ may join one of the tour groups to learn how to identify species of birds in the wild. Learn how to use binoculars and field guides. Compare different field guides by hearing reviews by seasoned birders. If you have your own binoculars, bring them! With these tools at hand, you will learn the language of the birds. They are telling a story that you might want to hear. We should warn you that after attending the tour, you might never look out of a window the same. You might even try to bring your binoculars with you everywhere you go. Most likely, you will become the token “bird nerd” to all of your friends.  All tours leave promptly at 9:00 AM. Long pants are recommended and young children must be accompanied by an adult. We thank the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society for providing binoculars for this event.

Bluebird Trail Walk

This is a great opportunity for people of all ages to experience an outdoor bluebird adventure.  Guided tours will be given by members of JDCF’s Bluebird Recovery Program along the bluebird trail at Casper Bluff to see eggs and babies in nest boxes.  The basics of bluebird monitoring will be covered as well for those wishing to create a trail of their own. Free and RSVP’s not needed.

Camp Casper Nature Camp

JDCF, in partnership with the Galena ARC,  will once again host Camp Casper, an outdoor day camp for children ages 8 to 12, at JDCF’s Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve.  Our theme for 2019 will center around the importance of trees in our natural world.  Reservations are required by calling the Galena ARC at 815.777.2248.

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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)