An old adage tells us that “Many hands make light work.” JDCF and other conservation partners in the region are putting this old wisdom to the test. In 2017, JDCF and nine other conservation organizations in our region founded the Northwest Illinois Land Stewardship Co-op (“NISC”). As we continue protect more and more land throughout northwest Illinois, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we have the means necessary to manage and steward these beautiful landscapes we’ve worked so hard to protect. Invasive species need to be removed, prairies need to be burned, brush needs to be cut, and firebreaks need to be maintained. All of this takes time. A lot of time. One of the ways we can meet this immense challenge is by partnering with like-minded organizations to achieve our common land stewardship goals and care for our landscapes.
NISC is founded on the principles of partnership and mutual benefit. It works to bring together conservation organizations to address urgent natural area management concerns across jurisdictional boundaries and service regions. NISC is comprised of conservation organizations working in Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties. A landscape-scale challenge like perpetual land stewardship requires a landscape-scale solution.
NISC also works to provide educational and outreach opportunities for the private landowners and volunteers that are caring for our region’s natural areas. Bi-monthly stewardship workdays offer the staff and volunteers of NISC member organizations the opportunity to explore new natural areas and make a difference in the future of the landscape of northwest Illinois.
NISC is governed by a steering committee made up of representatives from NISC member organizations. Organizational members of NISC include JDCF, Natural Land Institute, Jane Addamsland Park Foundation, Northwest Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts, the Illinois Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Northwest Illinois Audubon Society, Freeport Park District, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, and the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (Savanna District). The University of Illinois Extension serves in an advisory role and assists with land stewardship educational and outreach efforts.