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Upcoming Events

Our 2018 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, Bluebird Trail Walk, and Fall Forest Walk. The full calendar will be posted soon so check back often for more information.

April 2018


JDCF Annual Meeting

The public is invited to JDCF’s annual meeting on Saturday, April 7th, 2018 beginning with a social hour at 4:30 PM.  Our keynote speaker will be Jon Greendeer, Former President and current Executive Director of Heritage Preservation of the Ho-Chunk Nation.  Jon is a proud member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, a student of the Ho-Chunk language, and traditional way of life. A musician, cyclist, woodworker, drone pilot, and bow hunter, Jon believes in building a life around activity and the outdoors. He earned his Associates Degree from University of Wisconsin Marathon County in 2001 and later, his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point which has helped him develop his interest in state and federal relations with tribes.

We will also be honoring Joan Harmet, the recipient of the 2018 Nancy Hamill Winter Conservation Leadership Award. The cost is $45/per person and includes a buffet dinner.  Cash bar available. Please call the JDCF office at 815.858.9100 for RSVP’s.

Fantastic Frogs & Friends Frog Walk

Bring the whole family to Fantastic Frogs & Friends, a frog walk beginning on the east side of the Meeker Street footbridge 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 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.

Bluebird & Red-headed Woodpecker Workshop

Everyone is invited to enjoy a workshop on two of our most beautiful native birds, bluebirds and red-headed woodpeckers. This morning workshop will be filled with interesting and colorful information about these beautiful birds, including how you can help monitor bluebird trails and local woodpecker populations, and even attract them to your property. You are encouraged to come whether you are a new or experienced birder.

Our experts from the Bluebird Recovery Program will relate lessons learned from their years of experience in setting up and monitoring bluebird nest boxes, and share how the success of the bluebird trails in Jo Daviess County has brought bluebirds back from the brink of extinction. Discover the best ways to select the location for a nest box, the features of the nest box, and what to expect when you monitor the Bluebirds who use it. You can also find out how to join a team monitoring an existing bluebird trail, or attract these gems of blue to raise families in your own yard. New to the workshop this year, we will also be covering the basics of bed-beaded woodpeckers, another native, cavity-nesting bird whose population has been declining.

The morning will conclude with a drawing for door prizes, and the opportunity to pick up helpful literature, purchase professional bird photos, books and nest boxes, and get free advice on setting up your own nest box

May 2018

June 2018

Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary Grand Opening

JDCF will be opening a 409-acre property near Stockton, Illinois, on Saturday, June 2, 2018 beginning at 9 AM.  After opening remarks, trails will be open for self-guided tours; and bird experts will be on hand with spotting scopes to answer your questions.   We will also be joined by the Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center with their American white pelican ambassador, Marshmallow, for a live bird program. Wear sturdy shoes for hiking on uneven ground, and bring your sense of adventure!

A generous gift from Nancy Hamill Winter, Valley of Eden offers a variety of habitats to sustain many native Illinois birds that have been on the decline for the past 50 years due primarily to habitat loss or alteration to grasslands, forests, and oak savannas.  The grassland habitat at Valley of Eden will support species that have suffered the steepest decline, including the bobolink, Henslow’s sparrow, dickcissel, sedge wren, and more, by providing the right cover and food mix to allow them to breed and successfully rear a family.

The name Valley of Eden is a tribute to the Eden families who settled in this valley and have farmed here for 4 generations, and continue to raise Black Angus cattle in one of two pastures during most of the growing season as part of the management of the property. The site has over 6 miles of grass walking paths that weave through grasslands, along forests and pasture edges, and between beautiful oak savannas. More than 108 bird species have been identified, and the list is growing.  Please note that dogs and dog walking are not allowed.

Camp Casper 2018 – People on the Land

JDCF, in partnership with the Galena ARC, will once again host Camp Casper, an outdoor day camp for children ages 9 to 13, at JDCF’s Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve. This year’s theme is People on the Land. People have lived, worked and played on the land that now makes up Jo Daviess County for over 12,000 years. Campers will take a journey through time to explore the lives of the Native Americans who first inhabited this land, the settlers who migrated in search of resources and opportunity, and those who live on and work the land as we know it today.

The camp will take place from 8:30 AM – 11:45 AM on June 18, 20, 21 and 22. It will run until 2:00 PM on June 19th for a field trip.

To register, contact the Galena ARC at (815) 777-2248 or visit www.galenaarc.org/camp-casper.

Camp Casper 2018 is generously sponsored by Illinois Bank & Trust and Chestnut Mountain Resort.

July 2018

Potluck & Program: JDCF’s Native American Connection

Join us for a potluck and program featuring our own Executive Director, Steve Barg, as he discusses JDCF’s Native American connection through conservation of heritage sites and building relationships with tribal descendants.  If attending the potluck, please bring a dish to pass and table service.  Beer and wine will be available for purchase.  If attending just the talk, please arrive just before 7:00 PM. We thank the Apple River State Bank/First Community Bank of Galena for their sponsorship of our 2018 speaker series.

August 2018

Native Bee & Pollinator Landowner & Partner Workshop

JDCF, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, is hosting an informational workshop covering native bees in the Jo Daviess County area. Topics to be discussed include; native bee ecology and life history, sampling techniques and photography, and efforts to conserve native bees, including the federally endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee. Please join us to learn about native bees, sites in Illinois being managed for native bees, and what you can do to help these and other wildlife species in your area. Refreshments and lunch provided! Speakers will include Wedge Watkins, Former Regional Pollinator Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Retired), Angella Moorehouse, Biologist with the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, and Andrew DiAllesandro, Private Lands Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Following the morning session in the field, the group will head to Chestnut Mountain Resort for lunch and presentations. The workshop is free but RSVP’s are needed by Friday, July 27th to info@nulljdcf.org.

Meteors on the Mound

Join JDCF and the Planetary Studies Foundation to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower from atop Horseshoe Mound on Saturday, August 11th from 7-11 PM. Enjoy family-friendly activities and learn about meteors before the sunset ushers in the celestial show! The event will be cancelled if it is raining, so please check jdcf.org or the JDCF Facebook page for updates. The event is free and RSVP’s are not required. Horseshoe Mound Preserve is located at 1679 N Blackjack Road, Galena.

September 2018

Fall Forest Hike

With fall on the way, the appearance of trees changes significantly and identifying them can be tricky – unless you know your bark, berries & nuts. Join us to celebrate the change of season with a Fall Forest Walk on Saturday, September 15th from 1:00- 3:00pm at the 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!
To reach Schurmeier Forest, take HWY 20 to Derinda Road just east of downtown Elizabeth. Travel a short distance to Tower Road, turn right and follow to Reusch Road. Take a left on Reusch and drive 1 ½ miles to the parking lot on the right side of the road. The entrance to the forest is on the left.

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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)