2014 Field Trips
Saturday, April 26 – Grainger Woods, Lake County
On April 26 steward Kathy Garness gave us a wonderful tour of Grainger Woods, a high quality flatwoods community that had many beautiful early spring species in bloom.
Saturday, May 17 – Thatcher Woods, Cook County
We visited Thatcher Woods on May 17 and were led by steward Victor Guarino through an open woodland with a diverse understory of spring flora.
Saturday, June 28 – A Tour of Dundee Township-Owned Natural Areas, Kane County
Over the past decade Dundee Township has purchased and restored 860 acres of land. Their projects run from restoration of prairie remnant on a Nature Preserve to reclamation of a gravel pit. The tour will start with our remnant prairie at the Dixie Briggs Fromm Nature Preserve where they have expanded the dry hill prairie remnant and stabilized a small creek bisecting the land. The FQI is 77.5 with 267 native species. The 150 acre site is home to over 20 species rated as 10 on the Swink and Wilhelm scale. The stream bank stabilization has turned an urban wash out into an attractive meander which is able to withstand the frequent high volume rain events that characterize urban streams. The second part of our trip will be to an old agricultural field which has been restored into a nice dry mesic prairie beside a hundred acre woodland. The Township removed drain tiles and site stewards, June and Steve Keibler, continue to remove exotic invaders and spread seed from local prairie remnants. The field is rich with short and tall Prairie grasses, as well as spectacular dry and mesic forbs. The final leg of the tour will be to the Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary. The bird sanctuary is a former gravel pit which has been re-contoured to allow for maximum rainwater infiltration through a series of vegetated bio-swales and ponds over a 260 acre parcel. The site was planted in prairie grasses and forbes in the Fall of 2009 and boasts a thriving native plant and bird population. We’ll meet at 12:30PM at Eastmoor Lane in Algonquin, IL.
Friday, August 1 – Sunday, August 3 – Annual Meeting in the Kankakee Sands Region
Field trips to floristically diverse nature preserves including Braidwood Dunes and Savanna, Pembroke Savanna, Wilmington Shrub Prairie, and Momence Wetlands. More details here
2013 Field Trips
Saturday, October 20 – McGinnis Slough, Cook County
Lou Mule led this tour of the true watershed divide between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi watersheds. We explored headwater streams, checked out the late season plant communities and migrating birds, and discussed restoration challenges at the urban interface. Meeting place: McGinnis Slough parking lot at 139th and LaGrange Rd (US 45).
Sunday, September 15 – Powderhorn Prairie, Cook County
Northeast chapter members explored exemplary sand prairie and savanna at Powderhorn Prairie in southeast Cook County, led by Dennis Nyberg. Meeting place: 14000 Brainard Avenue, Burnham, IL.
Sunday, August 18 – Sand Ridge Savanna and Green Lake Savanna, Cook County
On August 18th, NE chapter members were given a tour of Sand Ridge Savanna and Green Lake Savanna, two wonderful examples of dune and swale topography and flora, which are unique in northeast Illinois. The sites are undergoing management and restoration as part of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and are currently making great strides toward becoming even richer and more diverse. Forest Preserve District of Cook County ecologists Chip O’Leary and Dan Spencer were kind enough to volunteer their time to lead the trip.
Sunday, July 21 – Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve, Lake County
Members explored Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve, led by NE chapter member Floyd Catchpole and NE chapter secretary Rachel Goad. The diverse flora of the ravines, restored prairie, steep lake bluffs, and beaches at this site is managed by the Lake County Forest Preserve District, which has done an impressive job of remediating damaging hydrological flow through the site.
Saturday, July 20 – Illinois Beach State Park, Lake County
On July 20th, members met at Illinois Beach State Park. Owned and managed by IDNR, this site has the distinction of being Illinois’ first nature preserve. NE chapter member Karen Lustig gave an excellent tour of the south unit’s diverse dune and swale flora.
Sunday, June 16 – McKinley Woods, Will County
On June 16th, NE chapter members explored McKinley Woods, guided by intrepid trip leader and NE Chapter member Floyd Catchpole. Recent canopy thinning work has allowed a rich understory flora to develop at this site as historical light levels have returned. The ravine slopes along the Des Plaines River presented a rare bit of topographic relief during the tour. As part of the Forest Preserve District of Will County, McKinley Woods will continue to provide habitat to some of the rarer flora as restoration and management work continues.
Sunday, May 19 – Waterfall Glen Preserve, DuPage County
On May 19th, NE Chapter member Scott Kobal gave a tour of Waterfall Glen Preserve, one of the gems of the DuPage County Forest Preserve District. Society members were delighted by the fern flora on the rock outcroppings in the preserve and were treated to an in depth review of the site’s flora and management history. This impressive tour covered only a small area of the larger preserve, and NE Chapter members are eager to see more on a future trip.
Sunday, April 14 – Hickory Creek, Will County
Northeast Chapter Treasurer Jason Zylka and site steward Phyllis Schulte led NE chapter members on a hike to Hickory Creek, a Will County Forest Preserve, in search of the newsletters namesake, the Harbinger of Spring (Erigenia bulbosa). Members were successful in this quest, and also enjoyed a diversity of other spring ephemerals beginning to bloom.