This summer, JDCF is offering the public an opportunity for adventures in our nature preserves as part of small groups led by expert guides. We are calling these expeditions “safaris.” Our first safaris will take you to the habitats of rare and beautiful birds and to the remnants of ancient Native peoples.
Our new “Thunderbird” safari – June 15 and 16 – will be guided by Dr. Phil Millhouse. Phil brings his unique experience as a foremost expert on Native American cultural sites of Northwest Illinois to a tour of JDCF’s Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve, near Galena. There you will view remnants of ancient native peoples, still visible after thousands of years, including the state’s only known intact Thunderbird effigy. Phil is excited to be a lead guide and share his knowledge as we launch our archaeological safari adventures. “As you know, encouraging appreciation of heritage has to be kept alive,” Phil said. “The safaris are a great way to this,” he said. A full description of Thunderbird can be found here: Thunderbird safari
Our new “Bobolink” safaris – June 22 or June 29 – will be guided by international birding expert Bobbi Asher. Bobbi sits on the boards of both the International Crane Foundation and Chicago Audubon Society. She has traveled the globe on birding adventures and will bring this expertise to a tour of JDCF’s Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary during the prime bobolink breeding season. “Valley of Eden is one of my favorite places to bird,” said Bobbi. “I’m excited for people to experience its variety of habitats and some of the uncommon birds it hosts.” A full description of Bobolink can be found here: Bobolink safari
Fees for the safaris will be used to further JDCF’s conservation work. JDCF is not funded by the government. We rely on memberships and the generosity of our donors. With their support, JDCF has been able to conserve and protect more than 6000 acres for the legacy of the peoples who came before us and the benefit of people and wildlife today. Most JDCF preserves are open to the public. But our experienced guides will further unlock their secrets. JDCF Associate Director Christie Trifone-Simon hopes this is just the beginning. “Surveys show that visitors are drawn to our region because of its natural wonders. We anticipate that JDCF safaris will be an important new way to experience those wonders,” Christie said. JDCF plans to add new safaris in the near future, featuring tours of other Native American cultural sites, explorations of the region’s oak ecosystems, rare and beautiful butterflies, nocturnal birds and more.