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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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March 2017

The Prairie Enthusiasts 2017 Annual Conference

JDCF is co-hosting this annual, one-day conference with the Northwest Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts.  The theme will be Landscapes of the Future: Challenges & Opportunities. Two keynote speakers will be Jeff Walk of The Nature Conservancy, speaking on “Climate Change & Habitat Preservation & Restoration” and Bob Palmer of the Effigy Mounds National Monument, speaking on “Fertile Ground – The Upper Midwest & Leaders of the Conservation Movement in the Late 19th and 20th Centuries”.  Visit The Prairie Enthusiasts for more details.

Popcorn & Program: FIRE, the Science of Prairie Restoration Burns

Learn about the important role fire plays in the prairie ecosystem from our own Director of Land Stewardship, Ryan Getz. This “Popcorn & Program” is at the Galena Territory Association on Saturday, March 18 at 6:30 PM with the program beginning at 7:00 PM. As a follow up, all are welcome to come out in April to observe a large prescribed burn conducted by Ryan and his team. Check jdcf.org for more details and updates on the prescribed burn as this activity is highly dependent on weather and other conditions.

April 2017

JDCF Annual Meeting

Join fellow JDCF members and our guest speaker, botanical artist, George Olson, at our annual meeting.  Mr. Olson will have some of his work on site.  We will also be honoring John & Barbara Rutherford as recipients of the 2017 Nancy Hamill Winter Conservation Leadership Award.

Calling All Volunteers – River Clean Up

The annual Mississippi River Clean Up will take place from 8 am until 3:30 pm at Gear’s Ferry Landing south of Galena. Individuals and families with older children are welcome.   This event is generously sponsored by Chestnut Mountain Resort. Boats and shovels are needed. Anyone who provides a boat for the day will be reimbursed for gas. Participants will get wet and dirty, so come prepared with warm, waterproof clothes, gloves, and boots.  Anyone who would like to participate but not go onto the Mississippi River can help by picking up garbage along Ferry Landing Road and the landing.  The Galena Boat Club & Galena Rotary are partnering in the clean up.

Fantastic Frogs & Friends Frog Walk

Bring the whole family to Fantastic Frogs & Friends, a frog walk beginning at the Meeker Street footbridge on the east side along the Galena River Trail in downtown Galena, IL.  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 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 2017

Prairie Talk with Steve Apfelbaum & Susan Lehnhardt

Author Steve Apfelbaum will discuss his book, “Natures’s Second Chance” and artist Susan Lehnhardt will present art that has been inspired by the prairie and talk about local activism to protect water in our watershed. Co-sponsored by the Galena Center for the Arts.

June 2017

Bluebird Trail Walk

The Bluebird Recovery Program of JDCF invites everyone to enjoy a Bluebird Trail Walk on Saturday morning from 9 AM to noon. No reservations are necessary and this event is free.  This is a great opportunity to experience an outdoor Bluebird adventure for people of all ages.  Guided tours will be given on easy and scenic Bluebird trail walks to see Bluebird eggs and babies up close in nest boxes.

Camp Casper Nature Camp

Camp Casper will include activities that follow JDCF’s 2017 theme of all things prairie for kids ages 9-13.  Advance registration and fee required.  Details to follow.

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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)