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Mouth of Jordan Reserve hiker crossing road to upland forest

Thanks to Our Donors, Upland Forest Adds 12 Acres to Mouth of Jordan Reserve

On March 7, 2024, LCF closed on 12 acres of wildflower-filled upland forest, expanding our Mouth of Jordan Reserve in Vermilion County to 27 acres. William and Barbara Childers sold this magical place to LCF to protect it forever! Because of the generosity of so many LCF supporters, the funds were raised for the parcel and for future stewardship needs.


This extension of the reserve will bolster protection of the Salt Fork River below. The new parcel lies across the road, south of the existing reserve. There the land quickly rises, with steep ravines and winter views down to the river. Soon you'll be able to follow a new hiking trail and experience this more diverse terrain upclose! 

Bruce Hannon speaks at Levee Trail Grand Opening
Bruce Hannon leads a tour of the Levee Trail

The Passing of a Legend

Many of you have likely heard the sad news of the passing of Bruce Hannon on Sunday, February 18, 2024. Bruce founded LCF and served as president for many years, among his many significant accomplishments. Bruce had the vision to protect LCF's Sangamon River Corridor Reserve and use an old levee to create a unique trail, which LCF named for him. In Bruce's memory, take a hike on the Bruce Hannon Levee Trail and enjoy the up-close floodplain views. 

Bruce Hannon greets a baby, Grand Opening of the Levee Trail

“We also realize that our children, grandchildren and those who are to be born are our main hope. We return the rivers to nature for our children’s enjoyment.” 


This statement by Bruce, from a 2014 LCF newsletter, encapsulates his vision for LCF:

“The Land Conservation Foundation is in the ‘in perpetuity’ business. We intend to acquire, restore, connect and protect river lands forever. We establish corridors for wildlife that would otherwise perish on fragmented lands. We provide hiking trails to connect people and nature, especially children and nature. This is what we do.


Why do we do it? Wildlife of all descriptions are disappearing ever more rapidly. This vanishing part of nature is a warning to us. We are part of nature and only thrive if nature is whole. 


We also realize that our children, grandchildren and those who are to be born are our main hope. We return the rivers to nature for our children’s enjoyment. We continue to grow for the ensuing generations to enjoy.”

Photos: From the top, Bruce speaks at the Bruce Hannon Levee Trail Grand Opening in 2017, by Derek Liebert; Bruce leads a tour of the levee in 2014, and Bruce greets Grand Opening guests, by Elizabeth Otto.

Roger and Cathy Inman interview Lynn Smith at Brady Woods

Video All About LCF

A new video offers an overview of our protected natural areas and our work to maintain them; the diverse animals and plants that live there; and LCF's hiking trails, volunteer activities, and special events. You can watch it now on YouTube. See how our levee trail handles floods, plus lots of great trail-cam wildlife footage. A big thanks to Roger and Cathy Inman, who produced the video, and everyone else involved in the project. Photo: Roger and Cathy Inman interview Lynn Smith at Brady Woods. Photo by Melissa Records.

Map of Feller Woods to Brady Woods

Feller Woods Donated in Memory of Bob Feller

LCF is delighted to announce that, in memory of devoted LCF volunteer Bob Feller, his wife, Theresa, has donated 20 acres to LCF. The newly named Feller Woods sits along the Sangamon River in Piatt County. Watch for details soon, here and in our e-newsletter! LCF is deeply grateful to both of the Fellers for their generous gifts. Pictured: Bob and Theresa Feller at an LCF event in 2019.

Bob and Theresa Feller

Bench at Levee Trail Honors the Memory of Friend and Volunteer Bob Feller

Bob Feller spent countless hours helping to establish and maintain LCF's Bruce Hannon Levee Trail, forging friendships with those he worked alongside. That work included installing signs for a self-guided tour of the trail. Now, at Tour Stop #10, a handsome handcrafted bench will give hikers a break about halfway along the trail while honoring Bob's contributions to LCF.

Mettler Woods trail map
Mettler Woods Tornado Trail hikers
News Mettler Trails

New Trail System at LCF's Mettler Woods

LCF is excited to announce the new trail system at Mettler Woods Nature Preserve! Thanks to the Meyen family (Tom, Cassandra, Adara, Anton, Tayanna, and Callia) for their hard work in clearing two new trails, plus a connector trail!  As of June 2023, the trail system has expanded from 0.62 miles to an incredible 2.0 miles.


Woodpecker Trail This is the original trail starting at the parking lot. It's a wide, flat trail, accessible to everyone, and guess what bird is commonly found here? Correct! It's the red-headed woodpecker!


Tornado Trail This is the new trail on the west side of the preserve. It runs near the park boundary and then adjacent to the damage from the 2003 tornado. There are LOTS of downed trees here, but they are most easily viewed from late fall to early spring due to the vegetation. Amid all the flora, the deer are easy to see, but the locations of the chipmunk hoards are only betrayed by the moving vegetation and their constant chipping.


Valley Trail This is the new trail on the east side of the preserve.  It follows one of the waterways southward through amazing views of the hills and valleys that are dramatically different than other portions of the preserve.  With a much more open understory, this area also offers awe inspiring fall foliage displays and frequent sightings of gigantic pileated woodpeckers and foxes.


Ridge Trail This is the new short trail that connects the Tornado and Valley Trails. It may be short, but it offers a (sometimes) water crossing, a beautiful overview into the convergence of the valleys, and many downed trees from the tornado.  This trail was the most recently approved addition to the preserve, and as of this update is still primitive.


We encourage you to visit Mettler Woods and hike the new trail system.  Please remember this site is a dedicated Nature Preserve and not a typical park. No collecting of vegetation, ATVs or wheeled vehicles, or alcohol, drugs, or firearms are allowed. Enjoy the wildflowers, birds, enormous trees, and scenic beauty. Photo by Melissa Records.

DACC Student Volunteers at Mouth of Jordan Reserve
Fall sunset at Mouth of Jordan Reserve

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

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 sample

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

Plaque memorializing Quentin Rund

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.

Mettler Woods Nature Preserve in spring

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

Bob Feller installing trail bridge
Bob Feller installs trail signage

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.

Bluebells at Brady Woods Nature Preserve

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

Salt Fork at LCF's Mouth of Jordan Reserve

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

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

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