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September 2021

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Meeting: NIAS Conservation CommitteeProgram: “Some Heroes wear Hiking Boots” Community Science in Northern Illinois
Meeting: NIAS Board Meeting
Field Trip: A Walking Sense Journal
Event: Almost-A-Full-Moon Campfire @ Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve
Field Trip: Wilson Prairie Walk
Stewardship: Prairie Seed Collecting @ Elkhorn Creek Biodiverisity Preserve

MeetingsMeeting: NIAS Conservation Committee

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

Program: “Some Heroes wear Hiking Boots” Community Science in Northern Illinois

Tuesday, September 7, 2021
7 p.m.
Coordinator: Don Miller, 815-218-8024

NIAS invites you to listen to Severson Dells Nature Center’s Ann Wasser. Ann’s presentation will be on their “Community Scientist Program” which consists of several wildlife monitoring projects. It has been a major success and we will find out the whys and how’s of it. Ann will share with us some of the exciting whos that have been documented as well.

This past spring Severson Dells completed their 2nd annual “City Nature Challenge”. “City Nature Challenge,” is an international effort to document wildlife using iNaturalist, a free, fun, and easy to use app and website. The community’s observations during this past year’s challenge were staggering, making over 6,000 nature observations. It is a program that hopefully NIAS and its members will consider taking part in next year.

Ann Wasser is the Director at Severson Dells Nature Center. Before this she was the Director of Education at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History where she led a variety of community science programs including monarch butterflies, black oystercatchers and intertidal invertebrate monitoring. She has two decades of experience in informal science education, including teaching at residential outdoor schools, aboard tall ships, a science center, and an aquarium. Ann received her BS in Earth Systems Science and Policy with a concentration in Marine and Coastal Ecology from California State University, Monterey Bay, and an MEd in Science Education from the University of Washington.

To Zoom or Not to Zoom, That is the Question.
Because of the uncertainty as to where we will be in September with CDC protocol as it pertains to COVID-19, we are asking all people interested in attending the September membership program to contact us via, or by calling Don Miller at 815-218-8024.

Please let us know if you would like to attend the program in person, or if you would prefer to attend remotely via Zoom. We ask that you include a phone number as well so we have two ways to get back to you. You will receive an email in early September with our decision to hold the program in person or not. If we cannot meet in person, we will then send the Zoom link.

MeetingsMeeting: NIAS Board Meeting

Tuesday, September 14, 2021
7 p.m.
St. John United Church of Christ, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport, IL

Field TripsField Trip: A Walking Sense Journal

Saturday, September 18, 2021
5 – 6 p.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Adam Moderow, 815-541-5842

This guided journaling exercise will focus on how nature appeals to our different senses. We will walk through Oakdale, pausing along the way, and focus on how our individual senses interpret the natural world around us. Feel free to bring your own notebook and writing utensil. We should be done before dark but you may want to have a flashlight. We anticipate not needing masks but please have one with you should guidelines change. Meet in the shelter/parking area of the Newell Tract (the part of Oakdale on the west side of Crane’s Grove Rd.)

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

EventsEvent: Almost-A-Full-Moon Campfire @ Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve

Sunday, September 19, 2021
6:30 p.m.
Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Leaf River, IL (SE corner of Leaf River and West Grove Rds)
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Almost-A-Full-Moon Campfire at our Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve. Stroll the trails at 6:30 p.m., campfire at 7:00.

S’mores will be provided. Bring a lawn chair, flashlight and water. The preserve is about 2 miles south of Leaf River in the southwest corner of the intersection of Leaf River Rd. and West Grove Rd. Parking is off of Leaf River Rd. (S. Main St. crosses HWY 72 in Leaf River and becomes Leaf River Rd.). If the weather is questionable call Mary at 815-938-3204.

Field TripsField Trip: Wilson Prairie Walk

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
9 – 10 a.m.
Wilson Prairie Nature Preserve, rural Pecatonica, IL
Coordinator: Don Miller,, or 815-218-8024.

This trip was cancelled in June and is now rescheduled. Don Miller will lead a tour of this  privately owned 20-acre dry prairie which provides habitat for at least nine species of grasses and over 75 species of native flowers. It is located on a ridge with a great vista and an even more spectacular view on the ground. There is a 1/3 of a mile walk to get to the prairie from the parking lot, but the walk will be easy. Click here for more information about the Wilson Prairie.

Please email or call Don to reserve one of the limited spots and to get directions: or 815-218-8024.

Stewardship DaysStewardship: Prairie Seed Collecting @ Elkhorn Creek Biodiverisity Preserve

Saturday, September 25, 2021
2 – 4 p.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Tools, snacks and guidance provided. Bring water. If the weather is questionable call Mary at 815-938-3204.

Every September and October we collect prairie seeds at our preserves for planting in less diverse areas of those same sites. This is our only long-range scheduled collecting outing at our Elkhorn Creek Preserve. An October date for Silver Creek will be in your next newsletter.

We will be seed collecting on many more days on shorter notice as weather permits. To get on the contact list for those seed collecting outings, call Mary Blackmore at 815-938-3204 or e-mail Nancy Ocken at When contacted you may join us if you are available, or if not, we will catch you another time. We typically gather seeds for two hours during late morning or afternoon.
This is a wonderful way for you to volunteer to help our restoration efforts! Seed collecting is an easy, leisurely task. Novices always are welcome. There will be a leader to point out which plants to pick seed from. Snacks and equipment will be provided. Wear long pants and long sleeves and bring water.
Seed collecting is a fun way to spend a couple of hours on nice fall days. We hope you can join us!

Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve is about 3 miles southwest of Forreston in the southeast corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds., with parking off of West Grove Rd.