Sep
7
6:00 PM18:00

Moonlit Mini-Blitz at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge

Photo by Lindsay Appel

Photo by Lindsay Appel

At our 2018 BioBlitz, participants came out in droves to help experts survey for owls, bats, snakes, frogs, and nocturnal insects at our Dixon Waterfowl Refuge—and they couldn’t get enough! For this special-edition Mini-Blitz, we’re scheduling only twilight and nighttime species surveys to give people another chance to experience the Refuge after dark.

No experience is needed to participate, and hot dogs and s’mores around the campfire will be provided.

Attendance for this event is very limited. To be notified when registration will open, enter your email here.

You can view the results of the 2018 BioBlitz here.

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Aug
4
9:00 AM09:00

Thismia Hunt! A Calumet Celebration Day

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More than a hundred years ago, a tiny flower known as Thismia americana was last seen at Indian Ridge Marsh. That hasn’t stopped plant nerds from across the Midwest from gathering to hunt for it! This year, everybody is invited to join the Wetlands Initiative, Audubon Great Lakes, the Chicago Park District, and the Illinois Soybean Association on the ultimate nature scavenger hunt. Plus there will be snacks, prizes, and a family-friendly celebration of the people and places that make the Calumet region the vibrant community it is today.

The Mike Nowak Show, which broadcasts every Sunday morning from 9:00 to 11:00 on WCGO (1590 AM and 95.9 FM), will be joining us for the Thismia hunt this year. Co-hosts Mike Nowak and Peggy Malecki will be interviewing guests live from Indian Ridge Marsh that morning.

FREE buses will be available for this event, leaving from Bridgeport Coffee in Hyde Park, the Pullman Visitor Center, and the East Side and Hegewisch libraries. Learn more about bus pickup and dropoff times here

We’ll be meeting at 9:00 in the morning in the Indian Ridge Marsh parking lot at 11740 South Torrence Avenue in Chicago. We recommend bringing water, sturdy shoes, and a rain jacket just in case.

Please email us at twi@wetlands-initiative.org if you plan to attend or would like more information.

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Jul
26
7:00 PM19:00

National Moth Week Celebration

Photo by Trevor Edmonson/TWI

Photo by Trevor Edmonson/TWI

Join the Wetlands Initiative, Audubon Great Lakes, and the Chicago Park District for a rare after-hours peek at the nocturnal biodiversity of Indian Ridge Marsh! Learn all about the moths of Chicago’s Southeast Side with a moonlit walk through this unique habitat restoration, checking out moth traps made of fermented fruit jelly (yum!). TWI’s own moth enthusiast Trevor Edmonson will be using his halogen light trap to attract all kinds of nocturnal insects, and teaching people how to take close-up photos of these amazing, underappreciated creatures.

Meet at 7:00 in the evening in the Indian Ridge Marsh parking lot at 11740 South Torrence Avenue in Chicago. We recommend bringing water, sturdy shoes, a flashlight, and a rain jacket just in case.

Please email us at twi@wetlands-initiative.org if you plan to attend or would like more information.

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Jul
25
9:00 AM09:00

Constructed Wetland Field Day

  • Illinois Central College East Peoria Campus (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS
ICC+Field+Day+2.jpg

Come see TWI’s latest nutrient-removing farm-based wetland get installed at Illinois Central College (ICC) and learn about other on-farm conservation practices as well during this free field day, sponsored by ICC, TWI, the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership (ISAP), and the Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association (ILICA). There will be interactive agriculture stations and plenty of experts on hand to answer your questions.

Illinois Central College is home to a highly regarded and popular agricultural program where the next generation of farmers will have the opportunity to learn hands-on how TWI’s “smart wetlands” can be part of a sustainable and productive operation.

Participants may register in advance for this free event here or simply drop by on Thursday, July 25.

Please email us at twi@wetlands-initiative.org if you would like more information.

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Jul
18
6:00 PM18:00

A Night for Midewin

Night for Midewin Postcard Invite_Page_1.jpg

As partners in the restoration of Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie with the U.S. Forest Service, the Wetlands Initiative and National Forest Foundation are proud to host the third annual Night for Midewin in Chicago. Join us to celebrate the transformation of the former Joliet Army Arsenal back to a thriving native ecosystem.

The night will kick off with small bites and drinks at Chicago’s City Winery. Throughout the evening guests can test their luck with our raffle, and their knowledge with an exciting game of Midewin Pub Trivia.

Tickets are $45 per person or $80 for two. Proceeds will support Midewin’s restoration, helping to put the prairie back in the Prairie State!

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

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Plug Planting Volunteer Day at Indian Ridge Marsh
May
25
9:00 AM09:00

Plug Planting Volunteer Day at Indian Ridge Marsh

  • 11600 South Torrence Avenue Chicago, IL (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Make your way to Indian Ridge Marsh on Chicago’s Southeast Side to plant native flowers and grasses at this post-industrial site being restored by TWI, Audubon Great Lakes, and the Chicago Park District. And because it’s International Migratory Bird Day, we’ll start the morning with a bird walk to observe some of the species that are benefiting from the work volunteers have already done in recent years.

Information for volunteers:

  • Meet at 9:00 in the Indian Ridge Marsh parking lot at 11600 South Torrence Avenue in Chicago.

  • Free transportation will be available that morning on eco-friendly biodiesel shuttles provided by the Illinois Soybean Association, departing from several South Side locations. For more information on pick-up locations and times, click here.

  • Volunteers should bring water and wear long pants, long sleeves, work boots, and a hat.

  • Gloves, tools, additional water, and snacks will be provided.

  • Activities are suitable for most children over 12.

Please email us at twi@wetlands-initiative.org if you plan to attend or would like more information about the pick-up locations for the shuttles.

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Plug Planting Volunteer Day at the Dixon Refuge
May
20
11:00 AM11:00

Plug Planting Volunteer Day at the Dixon Refuge

PLEASE NOTE NEW 11:00 a.m. START TIME! Help restore rare prairie and savanna habitats at the Sandy Hollow tract of the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge! Volunteers will plant plugs (seedlings) of a variety of native species like milkweed and purple prairie clover. Since we’re several years into restoration of Sandy Hollow and many of the common species previously planted are well established, we’ll start planting some less common ones this year as well.

Lunch, water, tools, and gloves will be provided. Please wear appropriate clothing for fieldwork (e.g., long pants, closed-toe shoes). Children 16 years old or younger must be accompanied by a parent or other chaperone.

Meet at 11:00 a.m. in the parking lot at the Sandy Hollow entrance (not at the observation tower through the main entrance). The Sandy Hollow entrance is about 1.5 miles south of the Refuge’s main entrance on Route 26. Look for the large green sign on the west side of Route 26 marking the Sandy Hollow entrance. Click here for a map of the Refuge that shows the different entrances.

Please email us at twi@wetlands-initiative.org if you plan to attend.

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2019 Fishing Season Opening Day at the Dixon Refuge
May
15
5:30 AM05:30

2019 Fishing Season Opening Day at the Dixon Refuge

The fishing season at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in 2019 will run from Wednesday, May 15, through Monday, September 2. A Wetlands Initiative fishing permit is required in addition to a State of Illinois Sport Fishing License. Permit applications will be available at the kiosk by the boat launch starting on May 15.

For more information on permits and rules, click here.

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A Celebration of Wetlands and Cranes
Oct
11
6:00 PM18:00

A Celebration of Wetlands and Cranes

A Benefit Evening in Support of the Wetlands Initiative Featuring George Archibald of the International Crane Foundation

Cranes are among the most endangered birds on Earth, and wetlands are their home. But wetlands continue to disappear.

Come celebrate these charismatic birds this fall—and support the Wetlands Initiative’s habitat restoration projects!

Dr. George Archibald, co-founder of the world-renowned International Crane Foundation, will be the Wetlands Initiative's keynote speaker for the evening, following cocktails and dinner at the beautiful Glen View Club just north of Chicago.

Tickets are $275 per person in support of TWI's mission of ecological restoration ($200 of each ticket is tax-deductible).

When making your reservation, consider upgrading your wine for the evening. Gundlach Bundschu Winery in California's Sonoma County has generously donated premium Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines as an optional upgrade and, if you should choose to upgrade, your additional donation will help bring back even more wetlands for cranes and other species that need them. Doing good with great wine!

Reserve your tickets online here or by calling TWI at 312-922-0777, ext. 110

 

Lead Sponsor

Sue Dixon

Speaker Sponsor

Hall and Anne Healy

Supporting Sponsors

Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd.

Lake Forest Bank & Trust Company/A Wintrust Community Bank

Mackie Consultants, LLC

Northern Trust

Wine Sponsor

Gundlach Bundschu Winery

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Native Seed Harvest at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge
Oct
6
9:00 AM09:00

Native Seed Harvest at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge

Celebrate fall by helping to collect native seed in the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge’s beautiful restored prairies and wetlands. No experience is needed for this fun and easy volunteer activity!

The seed harvested by volunteers will later be cleaned, sorted, and planted over the winter in other areas of the Refuge that are being restored. This is an important way you can participate in restoration of this internationally recognized site and its diverse native habitats.

Bring your own water bottle and we'll provide snacks, tools, and gloves. There will be a light picnic lunch at the Refuge farmhouse when you’re done harvesting.

Please wear appropriate clothing for fieldwork (e.g., long pants, closed-toe shoes). Children 16 years old or younger must be accompanied by a parent or other chaperone.

Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the parking lot by the observation tower. Click here for a map and driving directions.

Please email us if you plan to attend.

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Constructed Wetland Expo - Day 2
Aug
16
10:00 AM10:00

Constructed Wetland Expo - Day 2

  • 31450 East 1900 North Road Cullom, IL (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The next TWI-designed constructed wetland is going in, on a farm in Livingston County, Illinois! Come out and see it being built by ILICA contractors and talk with TWI staff about how this farm-based conservation practice works to reduce nutrient losses and improve water quality.

At the expo there will be interactive stations where you can learn about several conservation drainage practices for farms—not just constructed wetlands but also saturated buffers, bioreactors, and drainage water management. Join us for a FREE lunch at noon.

The full schedule and directions to the site location are available at www.smartwetlands.farm/livingston2018.

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Constructed Wetland Expo - Day 1
Aug
14
10:00 AM10:00

Constructed Wetland Expo - Day 1

  • 31450 East 1900 North Road Cullom, IL (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The next TWI-designed constructed wetland is going in, on a farm in Livingston County, Illinois! Come out and see it being built by ILICA contractors and talk with TWI staff about how this farm-based conservation practice works to reduce nutrient losses and improve water quality.

At the expo there will be interactive stations where you can learn about several conservation drainage practices for farms—not just constructed wetlands but also saturated buffers, bioreactors, and drainage water management. Join us for a FREE lunch at noon.

The full schedule and directions to the site location are available at www.smartwetlands.farm/livingston2018.

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BioBlitz 2018 at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge
Aug
3
to Aug 4

BioBlitz 2018 at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge

Registration for BioBlitz surveys is now closed, but everyone is welcome at the Biodiversity Festival on Saturday, August 4, from 12:30 to 2:00 in the afternoon at the Dixon Refuge boat launch.

From the evening of Friday, August 3, to the evening of Saturday, August 4, join us at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge for a spectacular BioBlitz! Teams of citizen scientists will join experts in surveying the 3,000-acre site for as many species as possible among dozens of different organism groups—from fungi to birds, mammals to ants, and reptiles to plants.

The main activities will take place on Saturday, August 4, with a Biodiversity Festival in the afternoon suitable for all ages and mobility levels. Some nighttime activities are scheduled for the previous Friday evening, August 3, including an "owl prowl" and a bat hike. You are invited to participate in as much or as little of the 24-hour BioBlitz as you like.

During TWI's first-ever BioBlitz at the Refuge in 2015, participants identified more than 675 species. Help us beat this amazing record and learn even more about biodiversity at the Refuge in 2018! No matter your experience level, there will be ways for you to be part of the event. Surveying activities are appropriate for ages 10 and up, except where indicated.

Click here for an overview of the schedule for the 24-hour event.

For more information on the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, including its location in the Illinois River Valley, click here.

 

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Plug Planting Volunteer Day at Indian Ridge Marsh
Jun
2
8:30 AM08:30

Plug Planting Volunteer Day at Indian Ridge Marsh

  • 11600 South Torrence Avenue Chicago, IL (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Make your way to the wetlands on Saturday, June 2, for a morning of planting native flowers and grasses in Chicagoland’s Calumet region at Indian Ridge Marsh.

Once consisting of nearly 45,000 acres of wetlands, the Calumet region covers much of southeast Chicago and portions of northwest Indiana. In the late 1800s, industrial development reduced its biodiversity, leaving only a patchwork of remnant wetland habitats.

The Wetlands Initiative, Audubon Great Lakes, Chicago Park District, and Illinois Soybean Association are partnering to offer volunteers an opportunity to roll up their sleeves alongside urban conservationists and Illinois soybean farmers with the hope of seeing swifter progress in this critical ecosystem.

Information for volunteers:

  • Meet at the north end of Indian Ridge Marsh on East 116th Street, just west of South Torrence Avenue.

  • Transportation is available, with eco-friendly biodiesel shuttles departing at 8:00 in the morning from two Bridgeport Coffee locations in Chicago: 3101 S. Morgan St. (Bridgeport) and 5030 S. Cornell Ave. (Hyde Park).

  • Parking is available at the north end of Indian Ridge Marsh, or commute on your bike.

  • Volunteers should bring water and wear long pants, long sleeves, work boots, and a hat.

  • Gloves, tools, additional water, and lunch will be provided.

  • Activities are suitable for most children over 12.

Please sign up here if you plan to attend.

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Plug Planting Volunteer Day at the Dixon Refuge
May
19
9:00 AM09:00

Plug Planting Volunteer Day at the Dixon Refuge

Help restore rare prairie and savanna habitats at the Sandy Hollow tract of the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge! Volunteers will plant plugs (seedlings) of a variety of native species such as leadplant, cream gentian, and prairie violets.

Snacks, water, tools, and gloves will be provided. Please wear appropriate clothing for fieldwork (e.g., long pants, closed-toe shoes). Children 16 years old or younger must be accompanied by a parent or other chaperone.

Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the parking lot by the observation tower. Click here for a map and driving directions.

Please email us at twi@wetlands-initiative.org if you plan to attend.

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2018 Fishing Season Opening Day at the Dixon Refuge
May
15
5:30 AM05:30

2018 Fishing Season Opening Day at the Dixon Refuge

The fishing season at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in 2018 will run from Tuesday, May 15, through Monday, September 3. A Dixon Refuge fishing permit is required in addition to a State of Illinois Sport Fishing License. Permit applications will be available at the kiosk by the boat launch starting on May 15.

For more information on permits and rules, click here.

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Making Your Illinois Farm "Weather-Ready"
Dec
12
8:30 AM08:30

Making Your Illinois Farm "Weather-Ready"

Come learn about water and soil management tools to address weather effects, with presentations by Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist; Jim Isermann of the Soil Health Partnership; and Jill Kostel of the Wetlands Initiative.

Weather patterns in the Midwest are rapidly changing and are expected to continue shifting for the foreseeable future. To remain productive and profitable, Illinois farmers will need to adapt their farm management plans to account for more frequent heavy rain events, longer times between rain events, and extreme temperatures. This seminar will offer information that farmers and their advisors can use to improve the "weather-readiness" of Illinois agriculture.

Reservations are not required but appreciated. Please contact Jean McGuire by texting your name to (515) 520-3036, calling her at that number, or sending an email to jmcguire@wetlands-initiative.org.

Registration starts at 8:30, the presentations at 9:00; a free lunch buffet will be served.

2.0 SWM and 1.5 CM Certified Crop Advisor CEUs requested.

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Oct
26
4:30 PM16:30

Ecological Restoration in Chicago's Calumet Region: An Open House

  • Bridgeport Coffeehouse Hyde Park (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS
Night-Heron.jpg

Share some Bridgeport Coffee and snacks with Wetlands Initiative ecologists working to restore native habitats in Chicago's Calumet region on the city's Southeast Side, and find out how you can be a part of it!

Once one of North America's most biodiverse wetland areas, the Calumet region is now heavily marked by a century of industrial use. 

Join the collaborative effort to bring back Calumet ecosystems where native plants and wildlife can again thrive. TWI's partners in this work include Audubon Great Lakes, the Chicago Park District, and others.

You'll also have the chance to enter a free raffle for some fabulous Patagonia gear!

For directions to Bridgeport Coffeehouse Hyde Park, in Chicago's Hyde Park Art Center, including by public transportation and Divvy bike, click here: Bridgeport Coffee

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Native Seed Harvest at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge
Oct
7
9:00 AM09:00

Native Seed Harvest at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge

Celebrate fall by helping to collect native seed in the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge’s beautiful restored prairies and wetlands. No experience is needed for this fun and easy volunteer activity!

The seed harvested by volunteers will later be cleaned, sorted, and planted over the winter in other areas of the Refuge that are being restored. This is an important way you can participate in restoration of this internationally recognized site and its diverse native habitats.

Bring your own water bottle and we'll provide snacks, tools, and gloves. There will be a light picnic lunch at the Refuge farmhouse when you’re done harvesting.

Please wear appropriate clothing for fieldwork (e.g., long pants, closed-toe shoes). Children 16 years old or younger must be accompanied by a parent or other chaperone.

Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the parking lot by the observation tower. Click here for a map and driving directions.

Please email us if you plan to attend.

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Sep
23
7:30 AM07:30

5K Dixon Refuge Dash

Join TWI at the inaugural Dixon Refuge Dash on Saturday, September 23, in celebration of Hennepin's bicentennial. A 5K, family-friendly "fun run" at the Refuge's new Hickory Hollow tract, the event will give you a chance to experience what this area along the Illinois River would have been like when Hennepin was first settled. After the race, you can enjoy other bicentennial activities in Hennepin, including a pancake breakfast at the Hennepin Fire Station.

Online registration is now closed.

Day-of registration opens on-site at 7:30 a.m.

Date

Saturday, September 23

Time

Check-in and day-of registration opens at 7:30 a.m.
Runners start at 8:00 a.m.
Walkers start at 8:15 a.m.

Fee

$10 entry fee per person.
Children under the age of 16 are welcome to participate but must also pay the entry fee and be accompanied by a parent or adult chaperone.
Participants will receive a Dixon Refuge Dash t-shirt.
The entry fee will help support TWI's mission of ecological restoration in the Illinois River Valley.

Weather

The race will take place rain or shine, unless there is an extreme weather event.

Parking

Parking will be available off Route 26, near the race start. Click here for a Dixon Waterfowl Refuge map and detailed 5K race map.

Registration and Check-in

Online registration is now closed. Day-of registration opens on-site at 7:30 a.m., when check-in for pre-registered participants begins.

Race Course

This is a trail run. It will take place on unpaved surfaces through the new Hickory Hollow tract at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge. Experience this restoration-in-progress as you run through native Illinois habitats like sand and mesic prairie, oak savanna, and mixed woodland. Click here to see a map of the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge and a detailed 5K race map.

The 2017 Dixon Refuge Dash is sponsored by

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With additional support from:

Axline Pharmacy

Christina Judd Mennie

Country Stop

Edgewood Park Golf Club

Gonet Insurance

Grasser's Plumbing & Heating

Hennepin Boat Store

John Brandstatter & Sons

Putnam County Rotary

Shore Law and Mediation

William Marino - Hennepin LLC

Questions?

Contact the Wetlands Initiative at swagner@wetlands-initiative.org.

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Jun
15
4:00 PM16:00

Ecological Restoration in Chicago's Calumet Region: An Open House

Night-heron.jpg

Share some Bridgeport Coffee and snacks with Wetlands Initiative ecologists working to restore native habitats in Chicago's Calumet region on the city's Southeast Side, and find out how you can be a part of it!

Once one of North America's most biodiverse wetland areas, the Calumet region is now heavily marked by a century of industrial use. 

Join the collaborative effort to bring back Calumet ecosystems where native plants and wildlife can again thrive, along with the Wetlands Initiative, Audubon Great Lakes, and other partners.

You'll also have the chance to enter a free raffle for some fabulous Patagonia gear!

For directions to Bridgeport Coffee at 31st & Morgan in Chicago, including by public transportation and Divvy bike, click here: Bridgeport Coffee

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Jun
3
9:00 AM09:00

Plug Planting Volunteer Day at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge

Help restore rare prairie and savanna habitats at the Hickory Hollow tract of the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge! Volunteers will plant plugs (seedlings) of a variety of native species such as leadplant, cream gentian, and prairie violets.

Snacks, water, tools, and gloves will be provided. Please wear appropriate clothing for fieldwork (e.g., long pants, closed-toe shoes). Children 16 years old or younger must be accompanied by a parent or other chaperone.

Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the parking lot by the observation tower. Click here for a map and driving directions.

Please email us at twi@wetlands-initiative.org if you plan to attend.

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