Brady Woods Granted Nature Preserve Status

On January 26, 2021, the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission gave final approval for the dedication of our Brady Woods property in western Champaign County as a Nature Preserve. Dedicating land as a Nature Preserve is the greatest protection land can be granted in Illinois.


Brady Woods protects a biologically diverse stretch of the Sangamon River and associated forest. The preserve is on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory for outstanding aquatic resources, especially freshwater mussels. In recognition of our generous donors, it is now the Charlotte & Dan Brady Woods Nature Preserve. Join us in celebrating this exciting accomplishment!


Brady Woods is a showcase for spring wildflowers — bluebells in particular, but also wild ginger, bellwort, prairie trillium, and so much more.


LCF wants to again thank Charlotte and Dan Brady for donating this beautiful 20-acre floodplain forest to LCF to protect in perpetuity. Thank you also to John Griesbaum, Illinois Nature Preserves staff, for his efforts in making this dedication possible.

Photo by Melissa Records

Thank You to Our
Mouth of Jordan Reserve Donors

On behalf of the LCF Board of Directors, I want to thank the many generous donors who helped LCF complete the acquisition of this special natural area. LCF also wants to thank the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for awarding LCF a land acquisition grant. It is only with this support that LCF can protect lands such as this in perpetuity! Thank you!  — J. Steven Beckett, President

Jim Ayers

Beth Beauchamp & Bryan Johns

J. Steven Beckett

Jan Bentley

Chris Berti

Simon Dowd

Deanna Glosser

Robin Hall

Bruce Hannon

Bob Ilyes

John & Diane Marlin
Amanda & Ryan Pankau
Jack Paxton
Melissa Records
Mary Kay Solecki
Joseph Taylor

Weir Construction Improves Levee Trail

A levee constructed in the 1930s allowed 59 acres to be planted in row crops on land along the Sangamon River just west of Monticello. By 2012, when LCF purchased the land and established the Sangamon River Corridor Reserve, the levee required extensive repairs.


LCF committed to maintaining the levee to give hikers unique access to a floodplain ecosystem. To restore the farmland back to floodplain forest, LCF added culverts to the levee, allowing flood waters to pass through. In May 2017, LCF officially opened the Bruce Hannon Levee Trail, honoring LCF’s co-founder and long-time president.


In recent seasons, a rapidly rising river has sometimes exceeded the culverts’ capacity. Water swiftly cascading over the levee has caused erosion and necessitated repeated repairs.


In search of a solution, LCF surveyed the trail and consulted with floodplain experts. Historic records of river volume indicated that a notched weir would greatly reduce the frequency of overflows and damage.


In 2020, LCF hired Schomburg & Schomburg Construction Company, Danville, to assist in the levee repairs. They cut a 60-foot-long weir about three feet lower than the levee top, with a reinforced surface and a gentle slope at each end. Now, when rising water reaches the top of the culverts, it enters the weir. The weir’s large capacity helps to quickly equalize water levels on both sides of the levee, minimizing cascading and erosion. As flood waters recede, the weir again keeps water levels balanced, preserving the levee—and the hiking access it provides!


The weir project was made possible by an Illinois Clean Energy Stewardship Grant and generous donations from LCF supporters. LCF also wants to thank Bruce Buesing of Schomburg & Schomburg and John Marlin, LCF Board Director, for their commitment to making this project successful.

Photo by Erin Dittmer: John Marlin stands on the new weir.

Nature as Retreat: Boost Your "Outdoorphins"

LCF wants to express its support to all donors and members in these difficult times.  We can look to nature to help get us through. During the pandemic, for our safety as well as our health, we recognize the importance of hiking and walking in parks and natural places — so get out to your favorite natural area! Dress for the weather and enjoy the peace and beauty of every season.


Take your camera along and photograph whatever inspires you! Post photos on your social media of choice with hashtag #LCFnature. This way, we can search and share photos!

Visit the Bruce Hannon Levee Trail at our Sangamon River Corridor Reserve near Monticello to immerse yourself in a floodplain forest. This trail has become even more popular as we've looked for ways to refresh ourselves outdoors. LCF's trail at Mettler Woods Nature Preserve near Clinton is also open.  

But PLEASE use caution and follow all CDC guidelines, including allowing safe distance between you and others!

Photo by Melissa Records

Levee Trail Wildlife Videos on YouTube

The levee trail wildlife videos you may have enjoyed on LCF’s Facebook page are now highlighted in a YouTube video! It includes 13 amazing animals — baby raccoons, beaver, wild turkey, river otter, and more!

See it on YouTube, share with your friends, or use it as a homeschool exercise!  You all will enjoy the beauty and solitude of the Sangamon River corridor. 


Click here to subscribe to the "Land Conservation Foundation" YouTube channel so you can receive notices of future videos.

Join LCF Today

Please join or renew your membership today to ensure that LCF can continue our vital mission, such as to maintain the Bruce Hannon Levee Trail and to preserve treasured natural areas for future generations — including our newest acquisition, Jordan Creek in Vermilion County. Show your support by becoming a part of what we do!


Join or renew online or download our membership form and mail it to LCF. Categories are: $20 Student; $50 Individual; $80 Family; and $250 Sustaining.


Founder and Director Bruce Hannon says of LCF, "We are in the ‘perpetuity business’ for those who love nature now, and for the children of the future, whose love of nature we must help them acquire."

Photo by Melissa Records

Bridge and Sign Boost Access and Visibility

LCF would like to thank the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for its Amenities & Events grants for providing the funds to install a pedestrian bridge to facilitate getting to the trailhead across a low, wet area.  We also want to thank Bob Feller, Fran Harty, the City of Monticello, and other volunteers for their assistance in assembling and installing this bridge.


Through the generosity of anonymous donors, LCF was also able to acquire a large boulder sign to install at the trailhead to make the entrance more visible from a distance. LCF wants to again thank Bob Feller, Fran Harty, the City of Monticello for their assistance in installing this attractive sign.


Photos by Fran Harty