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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

Movie Event: Intelligent Trees with Randy Nyboer Speaking

Do trees have human-like characteristics? That’s the premise of this 45-minute documentary film, which features German forester Peter Wohlleben, and is based on his internationally best-selling book, “The Hidden Life of Trees.” The film will be screened at the Galena Territory Association Owners Club with doors opening at 6, the movie at 7 followed by the presentation. The book and film postulate that the massive, fungal infused network of roots in forests and woodlands are a “wood-wide web,” the “brains of the forest,” through which trees “nurture,” “warn,” and “protect” each other. Following the movie, botanist, ecologist and natural area surveyor Randy Nyboer will lead a Q&A and provide perspective. Complementary popcorn and beer. Free to attend, RSVP’s not required, but seating may be limited.Snow date: March 3.


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


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

iNaturaist is a free smart phone app which allows you to identify almost anything in nature, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. You take a photo and iNat’s sophisticated “face-recognition” technology tells you what you’ve seen. It also shares your observations with a network of scientists and citizen scientists who are mapping biodiversity across the globe. iNat is fun, and once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to use. To learn the basics and get a little practice recording observations, please attend JDCF’s iNat workshop, on Saturday, May 18, 9 am to 2 pm. The workshop will be led by ecologist and botanist Cassi Saari, President of the Northeast Illinois Native Plant Society and iNat expert. We’ll start at the Galena Center for the Arts and follow with a field trip to a JDCF preserve to practice recording observations. Bring your smart phone, a sack lunch, and refillable water bottle. Wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather. Limited seats available. RSVP to educator@nulljdcf.org.  $10 for non-members of JDCF.


Ice Cream Social Fundraiser at Wapello Reserve

JDCF’s Friends of Wapello invite you and your entire family to join them for an old fashioned ice cream social fundraiser under the new pavilion at the Wapello Land & Water Reserve on Thursday, May 30th from 5-8PM. Bring your lawn chairs, picnic baskets, and blankets to enjoy the sights and sounds of Wapello while listening to local favorite, Medicinal Purposes. Tickets for this event are $10 per person with a $40 max for families and includes cover for the band and one ice cream cone/person. This is a BYOB family event. JoJo the clown will be in attendance. The Wapello LWR is located at 8642 IL Rt 84 S, Hanover, IL.

The Friends of Wapello is a volunteer, civic organization created to promote, develop, and interpret the natural and archaeological resources of the Wapello Reserve so that they may be shared with this and future generations.

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.

Thunderbird: a JDCF Safari

Day 1:  Archaeologist and historian, Dr. Phil Millhouse, will guide a half-day safari of one of the most significant Native American cultural sites in all of Illinois, featuring the last known intact Thunderbird effigy mound in the state.  Your safari begins with coffee, tea, and homemade pastries, as Phil tells you the amazing story of the mound builder society, creators of the Thunderbird.

Then, your safari will traverse the stunning landscape of JDCF’s Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve, overlooking the Mississippi and just minutes from downtown Galena, where you will view the Thunderbird along with many other burial mounds in the Aiken Mound group, which are still visible today.  Your tour of the site includes wilderness trails where native and edible plants and a variety of wildlife can also be viewed.

Day 2: Your safari location moves to an archaeological dig at nearby Gratiot’s Grove, Wisconsin, outside of Shullsburg, just over the border with Illinois. There you will join Phil and students from Syracuse University who are excavating a complex French American and Ho-Chunk Native American settlement on the lead mining frontier of the 1820’s.

Walking on uneven ground will be required at both sites. Our safaris are suitable only for children 12 and older.  This is a rain or shine safari, and unfortunately, we cannot offer refunds.

Day 1: Saturday, June 15, 8:00 am to Noon
Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve, 870 S Pilot Knob Rd, Galena
Day 2: Sunday, June 16, 9:00 am to Noon
Gratiot’s Grove, Shullsburg Wisconsin
(maps and directions will be provided when you sign up)

$50 per person/$35 per person for JDCF members.  RSVP to info@nulljdcf.org to sign up.


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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)