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.
Our keynote speaker will be Adrian Wydeven, nationally-renowned timber wolf expert, based at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College, in Ashland, WI.
For more than 50 years, there were NO sightings of wolves in Illinois, but with declining habitat north of us, wolves have again been sighted since 2002, more in Jo Daviess County than anywhere else in the state. Relying on extensive experience with wolves in Wisconsin, Adrian will tell us about the biology, ecology, habits and habitats of these predators, their needs, the specific threats (if any) they could pose to people and other animals, and will discuss the issues surrounding how we are best to live with them as they return.
Additional speakers will address the other large predators, also with a view toward helping farmers, hunters, public officials, and the public, have realistic, science-based, information.
JDCF’s primary partner for this workshop-style program is the IL DNR. Some details are still being finalized so be sure to check back for up to date information as the date of the event draws near.
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.