With fall on the way, the appearance of trees changes significantly and identifying them can be tricky – unless you know your bark, berries, and nuts. Join us to celebrate the change of season with a Fall Forest Walk at Schurmeier Teaching Forest. This free event will be led by expert staff and volunteers from JDCF who will identify native trees, wildflowers, and berries on an approximately 1.5 mile hike through the forest. The terrain is suitable for people of all ages making the walk an event the entire family can enjoy. Appropriate footwear is recommended!
Each year, JDCF focuses on a theme. Our theme for 2017 is the "Year of the Prairie". For some, the word “prairie” simply conjures an endless sea of grass. For others, “prairie” evokes a veritable symphony of sights, smells, and sounds from bird calls, buzzing insects, and the wind rustling the grass, to vibrant purple and yellow wildflowers, minty Monarda, and peppery grey-headed coneflower seeds. No matter how familiar you are with prairies and the flora and fauna that call them home, there will be something to discover during JDCF’s Year of the Prairie. In addition, our calendar also features signature events such as our annual Camp Casper, Moonlight Frog Walk, Bluebird Trail Walk, and Fall Forest Walk. All of these events are free to the public, so join us!
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Learn about some of our nocturnal friends, owls and bats. This program, geared towards a middle school grade level, introduces the life cycle of the owl and its food and habitat. It also identifies the characteristics that make the owl a perfect predator and member of the raptor family. Participants will get to dissect an owl pellet to see exactly what an owls eats. Basic information about bats will also be covered with an emphasis on how they navigate by echolocation.
JDCF, the Illinois DNR, and the Jo Daviess County Farm Bureau invite the public to a seminar to provide research-based information about basic biology, identification, status in the Midwest and expectations for the future of wolves, cougars, and black bears – carnivores that in yet small but increasing numbers are appearing on our landscape.
Keynote speakers include:
Adrian Wydeven. From 1990 through 2013, as a wildlife biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Adrian headed up the Wisconsin wolf recovery program. During that time, Wisconsin’s wolf population grew from fewer than 20 to more than 900.
Michelle LaRue. Michelle is executive director of the Cougar Network and a research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Minnesota. She leads the Cougar Network’s efforts to gather and analyze confirmation data in the Eastern and Midwestern portions of North America.
Doug Dufford. Doug is program manager for the Wildlife Disease and Invasive Wildlife Program for IDNR. Doug coordinates IDNR’s large carnivore surveillance and incident response.
Craig Bloomquist. Craig is a wildlife biologist for United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services. He works in collaboration with IDNR to confirm wolf, cougar or black bear sightings and to provide management plans to reduce human-wildlife conflicts caused by these large carnivores.
Join us for an evening owl-prowl hike at Casper Bluff. This year, we will be joined by the Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab and Education Center who will bring along a few of their feathered friends for an educational program and meet and greet with live owls before we head out on the trails. There will be hot chocolate to warm you up after the hike, but be sure to dress for the weather and bring your flashlight! The family-friendly event is free to the public and RSVP’s are not required.