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March 2021

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Zoom Program: Mussels, Lake Sturgeon and Hine's Emerald Dragonflies, Oh My!
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Meeting: NIAS Board MeetingMeeting: NIAS Conservation CommitteeEvent: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch
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Field Trip: Skunk Cabbage Walk at Franklin Creek
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Field Trip: Spring Awakening Scavenger Hunt at Oakdale Naure Preserve
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Event: 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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Zoom Program: Mussels, Lake Sturgeon and Hine's Emerald Dragonflies, Oh My!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021
7 p.m.
Virtual via Zoom
Presenter: Orey Eckes, USFWS Genoa National Fish Hatchery

Our presenter for this evening will be Orey Eckes who is employed by the USFWS at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery (Genoa, WI) as the lead fish biologist. Orey will take us on a virtual tour of the hatchery that is located in Southwestern Wisconsin. Its ability to create different rearing environments, makes it one of the most diverse hatcheries in the nation. The Genoa National Fish Hatchery (NFH) has played a major role in the conservation of aquatic species since its founding in 1932. Over the last 75 years, the mission of the hatchery has changed from providing sport-fish for area waters to a conservation hatchery concerned with the recovery of endangered aquatic species.

The station rears more than 26 aquatic species of varying life stages equating to more than 40 million fish, eggs, and mussels to support management, restoration, and research objectives all across the country, from New Mexico to Georgia. We will take learn more about their important projects working with endangered species such as the Higgins eye pearly mussel, lake sturgeon, coaster brook trout, Hine’s Emerald dragonfly and others.

Orey Eckes’ experience and dedication to the preservation and enhancement of fisheries resources has led him to pursue a career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He has a Master Degree from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in Biology Aquatic Science. His interests include research for depleted fish species (specifically lake sturgeon) to develop fish management techniques that aid in species recovery. We appreciate him sharing his knowledge, experience and time with us.

For all individuals who want to join the program, please email nwilaudubon@gmail.com to receive the link to join this Zoom program. This program will begin at 7:00 pm, first with any chapter announcements from the president and board members, followed by our presenter. There will be time for questions and discussions at the end. This program is open to the public!

MeetingsMeeting: NIAS Conservation Committee

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
6 p.m.
St. John United Church of Christ, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport, IL

EventsEvent: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
7 p.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Coordinator: Anne Straight, 815-938-3263

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.
COVID-19 precautions: Bring your mask for when you may be closer than 6 feet to another person. Any additional COVID-19-related information will be given to you when you call the coordinator to register.

MeetingsMeeting: NIAS Board Meeting

Tuesday, March 9, 2021
7 p.m.
St. John United Church of Christ, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport, IL

Field TripsField Trip: Skunk Cabbage Walk at Franklin Creek

Thursday, March 11, 2021
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Forreston, IL Municipal Parking Lot, between library and Subway
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204 (call to register)
Join us as we stroll the hard-surfaced paths at the Franklin Creek State Natural Area in northern Lee County looking for that wetland harbinger of spring, Skunk Cabbage. If the weather conditions are right we may see the interesting patterns that are made when heat from the growing Skunk Cabbage melts a circle of snow or ice around the emerging plant.

Predicting plant emergence is an educated guess. After you have called to register, Mary will call you if cancellation is necessary.

We will car-caravan from the Forreston municipal lot (adjacent to the library) at 1:30. Each driver will be given a map in case we get separated.

COVID-19 Precautions: Be sure to bring your face covering for when you are unable to social distance. Additionally, optical equipment, including spotting scopes, cannot be shared.

Field TripsField Trip: Spring Awakening Scavenger Hunt at Oakdale Naure Preserve

Saturday, March 13, 2021
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Richard Benning, 815-865-5279 (call to register)

JGetting out in the natural world can be a great way to relieve the sense of isolation caused by the pandemic. This activity, taking place one week before the equinox, will encourage family units to get out and about at Oakdale searching for certain tangible and intangible things. Meet at the parking lot near the Mogle Center anytime within the above stated time parameters to get your scavenger hunt list. Wearing masks and physical distancing will be requested when getting your list and should you find yourself in close proximity to other family units. Participants are asked to call Richard Benning (815-865-5279) to register for this activity in case it becomes necessary to limit participation.

COVID-19 Precautions: Be sure to bring your face covering for when you are unable to social distance. Additionally, optical equipment, including spotting scopes, cannot be shared.

EventsEvent: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch

Saturday, March 20, 2021
7 p.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

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.
COVID-19 precautions: Bring your mask for when you may be closer than 6 feet to another person. Any additional COVID-19-related information will be given to you when you call the coordinator to register.

EventsEvent: Elkhorn Creek Woodcock Watch

Thursday, March 25, 2021
7 p.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

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.
COVID-19 precautions: Bring your mask for when you may be closer than 6 feet to another person. Any additional COVID-19-related information will be given to you when you call the coordinator to register.

Field TripsField Trip: Spring Mississippi River Waterfowl

Saturday, March 27, 2021
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
FWS Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center, 7071 Riverview Rd, Thomson, IL
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204 (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.

Meet at the river overlook across from the FWS Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center, 7071 Riverview Rd., Thomson, as Spring Lake will likely be closed. Other downstream sites that we’ll visit include Big Slough, Thomson Causeway and Lock and Dam #13. Bring a sack lunch if you plan to stay past noon.
COVID-19 Precautions: Be sure to bring your face covering for when you are unable to social distance. Additionally, optical equipment, including spotting scopes, cannot be shared.