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March 2023

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4-H Wee Naturalists- Signs of Spring
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Program: Wilson & Audubon: America's First Bird Artists
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Event: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch
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Event: Springtime Scavenger HuntEvent: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch
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Event: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch
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Field Trip: Spring Mississippi River Waterfowl
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40th Annual NIAS Banquet: Feathers to Fur
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Other/Miscellaneous4-H Wee Naturalists- Signs of Spring

Saturday, March 4, 2023
9:30 – 11 a.m.
Highland Community College, 2998 W Pearl City Road, Freeport, IL
Contact: 815-235-4125

NIAS would like to help share information about the University of Illinois Extension new environmental education program for children ages 4-7 called “Wee Naturalists”, hosted by 4-H Youth Educator Kelly Lafferty. It is an interactive program that includes a story, craft/activity, and an outdoor component (so it is encouraged to dress appropriately!). It is held on the 1st Saturday of every month through May 2023 at the University of Illinois Extension Office, Highland Community College campus (building R), 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport. (Use Parking Lot B)

Programs include: February 4- Groundhogs, March 4- Signs of Spring, April 1- April Showers, May 6- Insects
The cost is $5.00 per session and is from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
For more information click here or to register, call 815-235-4125 or click here.

Program: Wilson & Audubon: America's First Bird Artists

Tuesday, March 7, 2023
7 p.m.
St. John United Church of Christ, Fellowship Hall, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport, IL
Presenter: Matthew Vincent

Come out to hear Matthew Vincent tell the story of these two men, their accomplishments, their rivalry, and their place in art and science. Matthew is a professor of Art at Rock Valley College in Rockford, IL. He is very comfortable at the crossroads where science meets art. He is a gifted artist as well, being well versed in the natural world. He can be found seining local creeks, birding, fishing or putting colors on an empty canvas.

Mystery, intrigue, and drama, it is all there in the story of these first artist to illustrate America’s birds. Alexander Wilson (1766-1813) traveled over 10,000 miles through America over a seven-year period making observations. From those travels he wrote eight volumes of his “Ornithology.” They contained illustrated and detailed descriptions of 264 bird species.
Forty-eight had never been previously known.

John James Audubon (1785-1851) produced visual records of America’s birds. He documented birds’ characteristics and his own experiences in the wilderness in his “Ornithological Biography, published in five volumes between 1831 and 1839. By this time, he had been a celebrated figure in the United States, appearing in the press and lecturing to the public.

Watch our recorded programs:
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_KNVpgieuK07V4dT-dALBg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NorthwestIllinoisAudubonSociety/

EventsEvent: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch

Friday, March 10, 2023
7 p.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204 (call to register)

Join us for this evening outing to watch and listen for American Woodcocks performing their amazing courtship display. It will be especially gratifying to witness the return of these birds after what may be a long hard winter. In the past we have had 3-6 woodocks performing their twilight display for about 3-4 weeks. When and if this begins is an educated guess, so be sure to call the listed coordinator to register in advance and to receive confirmation that the birds have returned and the weather is suitable.

The preserve is located about 3 miles southwest of Forreston in the southeast corner of West Grove and Freeport Roads. The parking lot is off of West Grove Rd.

EventsEvent: Springtime Scavenger Hunt

Saturday, March 18, 2023
10 – 11 a.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S Cranes Grove Rd, Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Adam Moderow, 815-541-5842

As spring begins, the animals and plants around us begin to make their voices heard and colors seen. Just like we get more active as the weather begins to warm, so does the natural world around us. In this lesson, we will look for the signs of that increased activity. There will be a brief explanation and then a scavenger hunt through Oakdale to see what is poking through the snow. Every group or family can set their own pace and make the activity uniquely theirs. Make sure to dress warmly and have your eyes and ears ready. Meet
by the Mogle building, just off of the parking lot.

Contact Adam Moderow at adamoderow@gmail.com or at 815-541-5842 to register in case it becomes necessary to limit the number of participants.

EventsEvent: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch

Saturday, March 18, 2023
7 p.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Coordinator: Anne Straight, 815-938-3263 (call to register)

Join us for this evening outing to watch and listen for American Woodcocks performing their amazing courtship display. It will be especially gratifying to witness the return of these birds after what may be a long hard winter. In the past we have had 3-6 woodocks performing their twilight display for about 3-4 weeks. When and if this begins is an educated guess, so be sure to call the listed coordinator to register in advance and to receive confirmation that the birds have returned and the weather is suitable.

The preserve is located about 3 miles southwest of Forreston in the southeast corner of West Grove and Freeport Roads. The parking lot is off of West Grove Rd.

EventsEvent: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch

Wednesday, March 22, 2023
7 p.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204 (call to register)

Join us for this evening outing to watch and listen for American Woodcocks performing their amazing courtship display. It will be especially gratifying to witness the return of these birds after what may be a long hard winter. In the past we have had 3-6 woodocks performing their twilight display for about 3-4 weeks. When and if this begins is an educated guess, so be sure to call the listed coordinator to register in advance and to receive confirmation that the birds have returned and the weather is suitable.

The preserve is located about 3 miles southwest of Forreston in the southeast corner of West Grove and Freeport Roads. The parking lot is off of West Grove Rd.

Field TripsField Trip: Spring Mississippi River Waterfowl

Saturday, March 25, 2023
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge Spring Lake, Savanna, IL
Coordinator: Anne Straight, 815-938-3263 (call to register)

Join us as we look for migrating waterfowl on the Mississippi River south of Savanna. Usually a wide variety of both diving and dabbling ducks can be observed, with males in their colorful breeding plumage. We also should see grebes, pelicans, eagles, geese and some songbirds. Hopefully we’ll spot some cranes and swans as well.

Participants may meet at the Spring Lake parking lot just off of Hwy 84 about 2 miles south of Savanna or carpool from the Forreston municipal lot on the south side of the village library on Hwy 26. Carpoolers must be prepared to wear a mask if the area infection rates warrant that.
Several downstream sites also will be visited, ending at Lock and Dam #13. Bring a sack lunch if you plan to stay past noon.

40th Annual NIAS Banquet: Feathers to Fur

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
6 p.m.
Highland Community College, Bldg. H, Room 201, 2998 W Pearl City Rd, Freeport, IL
Presenter: David C. Olson, wildlife photographer

Please join us for a fantastic evening as David C. Olson, an accomplished photographer, takes us on a visual tour of the natural world. David will present to us images from his travel photography as well as fascinating information about some of North America’s native wildlife. David has been photographing the natural world for more than 25 years. His photographs have appeared in a variety of books and magazines, including Alaska, National Geographic, Audubon, and National Wildlife Federation.

David’s award-winning studio, Olson Photography, and gallery are located on State Street in Rockford, Illinois. View his imagery at www.davidolsonphoto.com.

Reservations for the banquet must be received by March 18th; however, reservations are not necessary to attend the program (no meal) which starts at 7:30 p.m. Further details about the banquet can be found at www.nwilaudubon.org by calling Tim at 815-835-5109 or by requesting a form through email at nwilaudubon@gmail.com. The cost for the program only is $3 for adults with no charge for children under one year old.

Silent Auction at 5:30 PM, Dinner at 6:00 PM, Program begins at 7:30 PM

Watch our recorded programs:
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_KNVpgieuK07V4dT-dALBg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NorthwestIllinoisAudubonSociety/