What’s Happening at Horseshoe Mound?

Those driving east on Highway 20 might have noticed some changes to the visible, western slope of Horseshoe Mound since the sale of the property by the Richardson Family to the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF) in December 2018. When JDCF acquires a property, they establish a wildlife habitat restoration plan to return native, historic Illinois habitat to the land. The plan on the western slope of Horseshoe Mound calls for restoration of the historic open oak, hickory woodland that once thrived there but is currently buried in the brush. Eager to begin the planned work in restoring the historic open woodland habitat (called oak savanna), volunteers from the Galena Area Land Enthusiasts (GALE) and the Northwest Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts (NIPE) have joined JDCF stewardship staff to start clearing off invasive trees and brush like European buckthorn, Japanese honeysuckle, white mulberry, and native invasive species such as eastern red cedar. “What may appear to be logging is really part of an extensive project to free the historic oaks, hickories, and walnuts from encroachment by non-native species. This will allow heritage native trees the space to keep growing and reproduce so that younger native Illinois trees can survive,” said Steve Barg, Executive Director of JDCF. “We are also re-purposing the cedar logs taken from the site for use in a proposed project at our Wapello Land & Water Reserve in Hanover,” Barg added. When conditions allow, the brush is being burned.

Members of GALE are onsite Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 AM to noon and are always looking for new volunteers to help with the brush clearing.

“I am delighted to be working this winter on the Richardson addition to Horseshoe Mound – where the parking for volunteers is ample, the access is easy and the views are fantastic. There is an oak savanna in there somewhere. We should see quite a change by spring,” said GALE member Tom Cunningham.

“The western face of Horseshoe Mound is changing with swift efficiency. The public is being treated to a front row look at the collaborative work of Galena’s own JDCF, GALE, and NIPE groups returning an iconic local landmark to its historic state. It is truly an amazingly ambitious undertaking,” added GALE leader, Bill Reid. If you would like to join GALE, or if you have any questions about the work taking place at Horseshoe Mound, please call JDCF at 815-858-9100 or email info@nulljdcf.org.

Upcoming Events

Bonfire on the Bluff – New Date

January 25 @ 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

JDCF invites you and your entire family to Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve for Bonfire on the Bluff, a great outdoor adventure to see the preserve as never before. Candle-lit trails will lead to several bonfires where you can watch the beautiful sunset, sip hot chocolate, and listen for owls. Special musical guest, Lenny […] Read More

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Snowshoe Hike & Cross Country Ski at Wapello

February 8 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

The Friends of Wapello invite you to explore the trails of Wapello by snowshoe or ski and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies under the new pavilion.  You will have the opportunity to meet members of the volunteer, Friends group and ask questions about the exciting things going on at Wapello including the proposed Discovery Center. […] Read More

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Popcorn & Program: “Racing Extinction”

March 21 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The Emmy-nominated film, “Racing Extinction,” follows a team of artists and activists as they expose the hidden world of extinction with rarely-before-seen images of precious and endangered species. Louie Psihoyos, the documentary’s producer, is an esteemed National Geographic photographer and Academy Award winning filmmaker. “Racing Extinction” features appearances by Photo Ark photographer Joel Sartore, Tesla […] Read More

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Early Spring Bird Walk at Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary

March 26 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Woodcocks, also known as timberdoodles, are one of nature’s earliest signs of spring. Learn how the woodcock dances in the sky and on the ground to attract a mate. The Valley of Eden short grassland habitat is thriving with wildlife of all kinds and we invite you to join us in viewing the sunset showing […] Read More

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