TWI to play key role in seven-year “great leap” restoration at Midewin

The U.S. Forest Service’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Will County, Illinois, is big in every sense of the word. At 20,000 acres, it’s the largest prairie restoration effort east of the Mississippi River, as well as the largest public open space in the Chicago metropolitan region. In fall 2015, it got some very big new inhabitants when bison were reintroduced. And starting in 2016, TWI will be part of a major restoration expansion at Midewin that’s bigger than anything ever done there before.

Cookies for conservation

The Wetlands Initiative recently had the pleasure of meeting Brownie Troop 21242, or as they call themselves, “The Rainbow Troop.” Inspired by their “WOW! Wonders of Water” curriculum, this troop of home-schooled seven- to nine-year-olds on Chicago’s North Side decided they wanted to donate a portion of their Girl Scout cookie sales to support wetland wildlife, and troop leader Charisse Antonopoulos contacted TWI through our Facebook page.

TWI lands a whopper with special fishing season

It was a warm morning on Tuesday, September 1, with the sun rising over Hennepin & Hopper Lakes at about 6:30 a.m. The kiosk by the boat launch was stocked with permit applications and maps, ready for eager anglers. This day was long awaited by many: the reopening of public fishing at TWI’s Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge after Hennepin & Hopper Lakes had been closed for several years to address an invasion of common carp.

BioBlitz finds nearly 700 species at the Dixon Refuge

On June 13 and 14, TWI held its first-ever “BioBlitz” to survey biodiversity at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in north-central Illinois. Guided by more than 30 scientists and expert leaders from across the state, participants recorded 675 species at the site over a 24-hour period, including many that were previously unknown at the Refuge or unusual for the area.

UIC engineering students help TWI design farm-based wetland

In spring 2014, a team of three students from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Engineering helped design a farm-based wetland to capture nutrient runoff for TWI’s project in the Big Bureau Creek Watershed in north-central Illinois. The students turned the opportunity into their senior design project, while the partnership allowed TWI to complete a needed initial engineering design at no cost.