News and Events



Field TripsField

Stewardship DaysStewardship




<< Prev

April 2022

Next >>

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Program: Sea Lions, Tortoises & Iguanas, OH MY!
Meeting: Conservation Committee
Bird Walk: Wetland Areas of eastern Stephenson County
Annual Crane Count
Field Trip: Pasque Flowers @ Freeport Prairie
Bird Walk: N. Jane Addams Trail and Orangeville Wetlands
Field Trip: Listening to Amphibians @ Elkhorn Creek
Program: The Impact of Microplastics on the Environment and Human Health
Bird Walk: Duck's Misery and south Jane Addams TrailField Trip: Knotted Up
NIAS Newsletter Deadline
Bird Walk: Newell Tract, Oakdale Nature Preserve

Program: Sea Lions, Tortoises & Iguanas, OH MY!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022
7 p.m.
St. John United Church of Christ, Fellowship Hall, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport, IL
Presenter: Mark Luthin

A natural “bucket list” adventure for a biology and environmental science instructor is a trip to the Galapagos Islands. This past January, Mark was finally able to cross The Galapagos off of his bucket list. The presentation will include some discussion and pictures of the week spent in Ecuador prior to departing to the islands, and then culminate with what Marks calls an “all too short experience in the Galápagos.”

Mark Luthin is a retired educator, having taught Biology and Environmental Science in the Belvidere School District for 32 years. Always eager to travel to and explore this big and fascinating world that we live in. Mark occupies his time volunteering with the Natural Land Institute, serving on the Board of Trustees and as chair of the Education Committee. Mark also is a frequent volunteer land steward with the Boone County Conservation District, and also occupies his time with several other local organizations.

Click here to see all recorded programs on the NIAS YouTube Channel.

MeetingsMeeting: Conservation Committee

Wednesday, April 6, 2022
6:30 p.m.
Call for location information
Coordinator: Teresa Smith, 815-238-3963

Conservation Committee Meeting at 6:30 pm. Contact Teresa at 815-238-3963 if you would like to participate.

Field TripsBird Walk: Wetland Areas of eastern Stephenson County

Thursday, April 7, 2022
8 – 11 a.m.
Nieman's Pond, Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Wetland areas of Eastern Stephenson County. Meet at Nieman’s Pond just east of Freeport. Take Hwy. 20 east out of Freeport and turn left (north) on Springfield Rd. and drive about a mile to the pond.

EventsAnnual Crane Count

Saturday, April 9, 2022
5:30 – 7:30 a.m.
Coordinator: Teresa Smith, 815-238-3963Saturday, April 9 is the Annual Midwest
Crane Count and Stephenson County has over 12 sites that are monitored each year as part of the Crane Count. Participants are on site from 5:30-7:30 am to listen and watch for cranes. It is a great way to participate in a citizen science project and enjoy the early morning sights and sounds. Notify Teresa Smith at 815-238-3963 by April 1st if you are interested in participating in this event.

Field TripsField Trip: Pasque Flowers @ Freeport Prairie

Sunday, April 10, 2022
3 – 4 p.m.
Freeport Prairie, Walnut Rd, Freeport, IL (SW corner Walnut and Meadows Dr)
Coordinator: Leader: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Blooming Pasque Flowers at the Freeport Prairie

Join us as we admire one of the prairie’s harbingers of spring, the Pasque Flower. Unlike the crocus it resembles, a Pasque Flower, Anemone patens, is a member of the buttercup family. In early spring the plant sends up a flower stalk in advance of leaves so what you see are delicate pale violet blooms nestled in the muted tan tangle of last year’s prairie grasses. Come and see how Pasque Flower blooms actually move to track the sun.

We also will take time on this trip to remember Dave Derwent, one of the biggest fans of and hardest workers on the Freeport Prairie Nature Preserve. As we stroll the prairie, participants are encouraged to tell “Dave Stories.”

Please contact Mary if you plan to attend. This trip will only happen if the flowers are blooming.

We’ll meet in the prairie’s parking lot just off of Walnut Rd, at 3 p.m.

Field TripsBird Walk: N. Jane Addams Trail and Orangeville Wetlands

Thursday, April 14, 2022
8 – 11 a.m.
Trailhead in Orangeville, IL
Coordinator: Somer Elgin 815-275-0719

Northern Jane Addams Trail and the Orangeville wetlands. Meet at the trailhead in Orangeville, just east of the BP gas station off of Hwy. 26.

Field TripsField Trip: Listening to Amphibians @ Elkhorn Creek

Friday, April 15, 2022
6 p.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Join us at our Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve to listen to the spring advertisement calls of frogs and toads. While 6 species of amphibians have been identified at Elkhorn Creek over the years, our best chances are for hearing the rapid metallic clicks of the Western Chorus Frog and the long musical trill of the American Toad. We’ll walk near both wetland areas at the preserve that provide amphibian habitat. As an added bonus we still may hear courting American Woodcocks!

Meet in the parking lot in the northeast corner of the preserve off of West Grove Rd. The preserve is located 3 miles southwest of Forreston in the SE corner of Freeport and West Grove Rds. If weather is questionable, call Mary.

Program: The Impact of Microplastics on the Environment and Human Health

Tuesday, April 19, 2022
7 p.m.
Via Zoom
Host: Highland Community College, Boyer Colloquium
NIAS Contact: Juliet Moderow,

This year’s Boyer Colloquium is “The Impact of Microplastics on the Environment and Human Health.” This program will be a panel discussion with Dr. Jodi A. Flaws, Professor in Comparative Biosciences at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Dr. Tim Hoellein, Associate Professor of Biology at Loyola University, Chicago, and Dr. John Scott, Senior Analytical Chemist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center in Champaign, IL.

Although NIAS is not a sponsor of this event, we wanted to share this community event since it will cover a major ecological concern. For more information and to acquire the Zoom link, please visit and look for the campus calendar, or contact Juliet Moderow at for information.

Field TripsBird Walk: Duck's Misery and south Jane Addams Trail

Saturday, April 23, 2022
8 – 11 a.m.
Coordinator: Gary Gordon, 815-541-1228

Duck’s Misery and the southern Jane Addams Trail. Take Hwy. 26 north out of Freeport. Shortly after the Willow Lake subdivision, turn left (west) on Winneshiek Rd. Drive about 2.5 miles (the road will curve at times, but bear west). Just past the intersection with the Jane Addams we will park along the road.

Field TripsField Trip: Knotted Up

Saturday, April 23, 2022
10 – 11 a.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Adam Moderow, 815-541-5842
From the basics of lacing up your hiking boots to the complicated matter of finding the correct lashing to build a bridge across the river, knots are a diverse tool for any fan of the wild. In this lesson, we will spend time learning some basic knots and their uses for various projects when enjoying nature. Time allowing, we will also spend some time building simple structures out of twigs and the knots demonstrated. Rope will be provided. Meet by the Mogle building, just off of the parking lot.

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

Other/MiscellaneousNIAS Newsletter Deadline

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Field TripsBird Walk: Newell Tract, Oakdale Nature Preserve

Friday, April 29, 2022
8 – 11 a.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Anne Straight 815-938-3263

Newell Tract, Oakdale Nature Preserve, Freeport. Meet in the parking area of the Newell Tract (the part of Oakdale on the west side of Crane’s Grove Rd.).