Don't Miss Our Popular Mudpuppy Festival
LCF's Mudpuppy Festival is set for Saturday, February 4, 2023, from 1 to 4 pm, at Monarch Events Center in downtown Monticello. Activities and displays provide a fun way to learn about the surprising mudpuppy salamander, fascinating freshwater mussels, and other wildlife that LCF helps to protect. We'll have face painting, a 50-50 raffle, and more! Food will be available from Holly's Country Kitchen, plus drinks from Dirt Pour Traveling Bar. A donation of $5/individual or $10/family is recommended. The festival is just one way LCF furthers its mission to "connect people and nature," inspiring future generations to value and preserve natural lands right here in Central Illinois.
The Magic Stump: A New Birding Documentary to Premiere at the Virginia Theatre
In the midst of farm fields, a Central Illinois tree stump has attracted a phenomenal variety of wintering raptors, including two rare Prairie Falcons. Grand Prairie Friends and Champaign County Audubon Society are hosting a free premiere of this new film, with support from partners including LCF, on Sunday, February 19.
Come at 2 pm for a Conservation Reception. Nibble, chat, and trade stories with local conservation community members (free snacks/cash bar). The 20-minute film starts at 3 pm, followed by a behind-the-scenes panel with producer Bob Dolgan and birding cast/stars of the film. RSVP on the Grand Prairie Friends website.
This Turnstone film is the first in a planned "The Prairie State" series featuring the landscape that once dominated Illinois.
LCF Welcomes New Director Dr. Wendy Brown
LCF is pleased to welcome Dr. Wendy Brown as the newest member of its Board of Directors, as of December 2022.
Dr. Brown joined the faculty at Danville Area Community College in 2002, teaching microbiology and other biological sciences. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and her Ph.D. in microbiology from Oregon State University. She once intended to become a lab scientist, but fell in love with teaching and decided to focus her career on student learning.
Dr. Brown believes that students learn biology best by experiencing it. She requires all Life Science students to complete service learning projects by having them work with environmental organizations to catalog Illinois’ freshwater mussels, build and monitor bluebird boxes, care for honeybee hives, capture and mark monarch butterfly populations, and participate in environmental cleanup events. She recently led a group of students in a project at LCF's Mouth of Jordan Reserve.
At DACC, she has incorporated the Tiny Earth curriculum, which engages students in authentic drug discovery research, looking for antibiotics from the soil bacteria in their own backyards. Dr. Brown is also passionate about K-12 outreach and has coordinated many activities promoting hands-on science education, including the Reptile Road Shows and a bi-yearly Family Science Night.
She currently serves on DACC’s Diversity Team, Achieving the Dream Leadership Team, Assessment Team, and Higher Learning Commission Reaccreditation Team. Dr. Brown has served as a board member for the Danville Tennis Center and the Keep Vermilion County Beautiful organization. She has also served on the advisory board for the National Endangered Species Coalition’s Endangered Species Day Events and the Endangered Species Conservation Site. In 2009, Dr. Brown completed the East-Central Illinois Master Naturalist Program.
Volunteers Improve Mouth of Jordan Trail
On a sunny October day, nine students from Danville Area Community College completed a service learning project to improve a 0.31-mile-long trail along the Salt Fork at LCF's Mouth of Jordan Reserve. The group was led by DACC's Dr. Wendy Brown, professor of microbiology and biology, and Ryan Wykoff, communication professor. LCF thanks these leaders and their students, who left with a greater understanding of the importance of land conservation.
In November, a group of LCF volunteers cleared invasive species and continued efforts to ease access, including adding a rope handhold on a slope near the eastern end of the trail. We encourage you to stop by and enjoy this beautiful spot! Before you go, check our tips for parking and access.
Want to join in this kind of rewarding, fresh-air fun? To be notified of future LCF work days, contact Deanna Glosser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top photo: DACC students and instructors, by Fran Harty.
Bottom photo: On the trail at the November work day, by Melissa Records.
Meadowbrook Native Plant Guide Online,
with LCF’s Help
A locally developed guide to Selected Native Plants of Meadowbrook Park is now available through the Field Museum website. Color photos of 63 of the most common species are grouped by flower color, making it a handy reference for hiking or at home.
The Chicago-based museum has more than 1,300 guides covering animals, fungi, and algae, as well as plants. More than 65 are focused on Illinois, including another timely recent addition, Creating Monarch Habitat in Your Midwest Garden.
The East Central Illinois Master Naturalist Program led the development of the Meadowbrook Park guide. Primary authors Mike Skreiner and John Hilty were assisted by a team of experts including Matt Balk, Amanda Christenson, Alicia Diaz, Wanda Haschek-Hock, Derek Liebert, Ryan Pankau, Melissa Records, and Diane Wilhite.
LCF Executive Director Deanna Glosser lent her expertise as a collaborative local partner. Additional partners were Peter Goodspeed, Champaign County Forest Preserve District; Mike Davis, Champaign Park District; and Diane Wilhite, Grand Prairie Friends.
Image: Excerpt from the guide, © Klaus M. Skreiner & John A. Hilty (2022) CC BY-NC 4.0
Levee Trail Bench Donated by Family and Friends of Quentin Rund
Hikers on LCF’s Bruce Hannon Levee Trail now have a place to take a break mid-hike. In memory of his friend Quentin Rund, Mike Hittmeier of Mansfield — along with members of his family and friends of Rund — donated and installed a sturdy, seven-foot-wide wood bench. LCF is grateful for this enhancement to the popular 2.3-mile trail. Thanks also go to Jonathon and Michael Norvell, who helped with installation, using a wheelbarrow to guide the bench down the narrow, raised trail.
Photos provided by Mike Hittmeier, pictured enjoying a break on the bench.
LCF Receives IDNR Stewardship Grant
In early December 2021, LCF was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to remove invasive species at Mettler Woods and Charlotte & Dan Brady Woods, our two beautiful Nature Preserves. The state’s new Natural Areas Stewardship Grant Program was created to increase much-needed stewardship activities in Illinois Nature Preserves and Registered Land and Water Reserves. Out of $800,000 in requests, the state awarded eight grants totaling $456,000.
Stewardship needs across Illinois continue to outpace the ability of individuals, organizations, and government agencies to care for the state’s most precious natural areas. The grant program recognizes that local land trusts are well-positioned to understand and address those needs.
At Mettler Woods (pictured above), LCF will use grant funds to employ a contractor for the heavy work of removing woody invasive plants such as bush honeysuckle, autumn olive, and multi-flora rose — aggressive species that threaten the health of the native ecosystem. Work at Brady Woods will include improving public access to the property, along with invasive species removal.
Photo by Melissa Records
LCF Creates Robert Feller Stewardship Fund
LCF lost a devoted volunteer and friend with the passing of Bob Feller on June 15, 2021. At its August 6 meeting, the LCF board adopted the following motion:
Create the Robert Feller Stewardship Fund to be used for stewardship activities that Bob selflessly devoted himself to, such as trail maintenance, mowing the Bruce Hannon Levee Trail, controlling invasive species, and other activities at LCF sites as determined by the Land Acquisition & Stewardship Committee.
Please show your appreciation for Bob’s efforts and help LCF steward its land by donating to this fund now. Mail a check or donate online and note this special designation.
Pictured above, Bob is seen hard at work on two of his many volunteer tasks — preparing a bridge to improve trail access and installing signs for LCF's hike app.
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
Beth Beauchamp & Bryan Johns
J. Steven Beckett
John & Diane Marlin
Amanda & Ryan Pankau
Mary Kay Solecki
Read more about LCF's Mouth of Jordan Reserve.
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