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

Moonlight Frog Walk

April 26 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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 […] Read More

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Calling all Volunteers: Spring Bird Count 2019

May 4 @ 6:00 am - 4:30 pm

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 […] Read More

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iNaturalist Workshop with Cassi Saari

May 18 @ 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Become a citizen scientist at our iNaturalist Workshop! iNaturalist is an online community of people recording and sharing their observations of the natural world. Whether your a total nature-nerd or just simply going for a walk, your observations of the natural world can help generate scientifically valuable biodiversity data. In this workshop, you will learn […] Read More

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Ice Cream Social

May 30 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Join us for an old-fashioned ice cream social under the new pavilion at the Wapello Land & Water Reserve.  The Friends of Wapello will be on hand to give guided tours of the site.

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