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Enjoy working outside? How about giving a hand-up to nature? JDCF is looking for volunteers to help with a variety of land stewardship projects. This is your chance to participate on a prescribed burn, join workday teams to battle invasive species at one of our preserves, or plant trees as part of ongoing restoration plans. Great opportunities for individuals, Scout troops, church and school groups looking to give back to their community.
OUTREACH & EDUCATION
Have you ever thought about becoming a citizen-scientist? How about giving tours of beautiful places to area residents and visiting tourists? Maybe you enjoy planning outdoor events like mothing parties, luminaria hikes, or experiences in nature for youth? JDCF offers many volunteer opportunities to people of all ages through our Education and Outreach Program.
Looking for a way to get your steps in while exploring spectacular pieces of property? JDCF is looking for volunteers to monitor our preserves and lands under conservation easement by walking them and taking photos for documentation. Many of these properties are privately owned making this a unique opportunity to see new parts of Jo Daviess County.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
January 10 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Conservation Conversation 2024 – JDCF Winter Reading Book Club
Announcing JDCF’s reading list for Winter 2024 online book discussion. To honor our mission statement, and in recognition of the 100th anniversary of The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, our reading and discussion will focus on land, water, and The Driftless Area.
- Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World, by Simon Winchester. Janusty 10 and 24.
- The Three Ages of Water: Prehisoric, Imperiled Present, and a Hope for the Future, by Peter Gleick. February 7 and 21.
- The Driftless Reader, Curt Meine and Keefe Keeley, editors. March 6 and 20.
Discussion will be facilitated by Andy Townsend, and will take place via Zoom on Wednesday evenings 6:30 pm. This is a free program and open to all. Join as you are able, whether it be for one book, all books, or any session. Online registration will open in December and is requested so that we can keep you informed of updates or additional information.
January 20 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Bonfire on the Bluff
In partnership with the Casper Creek Natural Cemetery, JDCF will be hosting an illuminating experience at Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve in Galena, IL. Back-up date for inclement weather is January 27th. Come get warm by the bonfires and experience a magical winter wonderland as luminaria lanterns light up the night overlooking the Mississippi River and through the natural cemetery. Free (donations gladly accepted) and RSVPs not needed.
We thank Common Sense Vintage in Elizabeth for their long-standing volunteer support of this event.
The Search For Affordable Land
Stewardship Services Is Over!
JDCF Earns National Recognition for Excellence
November 28th, 2023
After a lengthy and rigorous application process, we received the good news that JDCF has been reaccredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The Commission is an independent program of […]
Preserve Closures Announced
September 29th, 2023
“Big Sky Nature Preserve” – JDCF Announces Largest Land Donation to Date
August 9th, 2023
This is the story of one of the most incredible gifts ever given: to JDCF, to the natural world, and to the people of Jo Daviess County. A gift over […]
JDCF Opens New Stewardship Shop
August 9th, 2023
Over the last decade, JDCF has worked hard to greatly expanded our stewardship capacity. From 1 dedicated staff member using a DR push mower and a well-used, donated truck to […]
Unique Conservation Model Preserves Bedford Hollow
April 11th, 2023
JDCF Protects Iconic Stockton, IL Area Landmark
April 11th, 2023
Chloris Lowe Jr. Honored with JDCF Conservation Award
April 10th, 2023
Rutherford Refuge at Twin Bridges Becomes JDCF’s First Nature Preserve
February 17th, 2022
After reading this headline, you may be asking yourself, “What do you mean ‘first’ Nature Preserve?” What about Schurmeier Teaching Forest? What about Wapello? What about Casper Bluff, Horseshoe Mound, Valley of Eden, and all the other natural areas that JDCF has protected over the last 29 years? Yes, JDCF has preserved these natural areas in perpetuity for future generations to enjoy. But the title of “Nature Preserve” carries a very special meaning within the State of Illinois, and it’s not a title that is easily attained. “Nature Preserve” is an official legal status bestowed on certain special natural areas by a little-known state government agency called the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC). While INPC does not own any land itself, INPC uses Nature Preserve dedications in order to permanently protect land that is owned by nonprofit organizations like JDCF, governmental entities, and private landowners. A Nature Preserve dedication is the highest form of legal protection that a natural area can achieve in the State of Illinois without an act of Congress. “Nature Preserve” is also an official status that is reserved for only the rarest and highest-quality natural areas in Illinois. The Rutherford Refuge at Twin Bridges is one such natural area. It contains the “best of kind” wet-mesic prairie and sedge meadow habitats located within Illinois’s portion of Driftless Area. The refuge also contains dry-mesic prairie, oak barrens, oak savanna, upland forest, and coolwater stream habitats that paint a unique mosaic of habitat types on the landscape, which are home to several rare plant and insect species. Acquired by JDCF in December 2020, the Rutherford Refuge at Twin Bridges was founded with generous financial support from the Rutherford Family and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. It’s named in memory of John and Barbara Rutherford who owned and stewarded the property from 1988 to 2018. “Our mom had a vision,” said Bryn Davis, one of John and Barbara Rutherford’s four children that helped create the refuge. “I know she and dad would be thrilled beyond words at the fact that Twin Bridges has been dedicated as a Nature Preserve! They knew that it was a special place and they wanted it to be protected and available for others to enjoy. This dedication just reinforces what our parents and JDCF saw in this little gem of a place.” The Rutherford Refuge at Twin Bridges Nature Preserve joins the ranks of more than 400 dedicated Nature Preserves across Illinois totaling more than 60,000 acres. It is only the fourth Nature Preserve to be dedicated in Jo Daviess County and the only Nature Preserve in the county that is not owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In addition to over 400 Nature Preserves, INPC has registered 196 “Land and Water Reserves” totaling more than 54,000 acres across Illinois. Similar to Nature Preserve dedications, INPC uses Land and Water Reserve registrations to permanently protect Illinois’s most important natural and archaeological areas. However, unlike Nature Preserves, Land and Water Reserves allow for a wider variety of recreational uses to occur onsite and are used to protect sites that may be of slightly lower quality and may not qualify for Nature Preserve status. JDCF’s Land and Water Reserves include Wapello, Casper Bluff, and Keough Effigy Mounds. The Rutherford Refuge at Twin Bridges Nature Preserve is located at 9532 East Twin Bridges Road, Warren, Illinois. It’s open to the public for passive outdoor recreation daily from dawn to dusk.
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