You Can Help Unlock Matching Funds for Keefer Nature Reserve
In 2020, Natural Land Institute (NLI) was awarded a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) for $32,000 for habitat restoration at our William & Gayle Keefer Nature Reserve! When
Gayle Keefer donated the land in 2017 she also gave NLI a substantial Endowment gift to manage this natural area. The Community Stewardship Challenge Grant will supplement the annual distribution from Gayle’s gift by providing us with fuel to run our forestry mower and saws to clear the invasive brush, supplies to fully eliminate the brush and any other invasive species we encounter, native seed to plant once the invasives are under control, funds for an initial bird and insect survey to help us determine what wildlife call the Keefer Nature Reserve home, and even some funds to help us purchase a bat-wing mower which will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes us to mow down the aggressive non-native plants and encourage native plant growth.
We need your help to receive these grant funds. The two biggest ways you can help NLI restore the Keefer Nature Reserve are to volunteer and to donate. For one portion of the grant, we need 400 total volunteer stewardship hours to unlock those funds. The biggest financial impact though, will come from donations. The ICECF will match donations to the Keefer Reserve at a three to one rate, up to $21,000 total. That means if you, our community, collectively donates $7,000, the grant will provide our Keefer Reserve project with the $21,000 match! This is a huge opportunity for NLI and our community to improve and restore a beautiful piece of land for us all to enjoy!
Regardless of whether you are able to donate or volunteer, NLI’s Keefer Nature Reserve will be open to the public for everyone to enjoy later this year. As our restoration activities progress this year and beyond, new interior hiking trails to view the rare chinquapin oak habitat, oak savanna restoration, and prairie restoration will be available to explore. Part of our plan for the Keefer Reserve is also to connect our trails with the Village of Rockton’s paved Woodlands Park Disc-Golf course trails to the south of the Keefer Reserve. NLI is very excited for this collaboration because it will enable even greater public access and enjoyment of our wonderful protected spaces. We look forward to seeing you at the William & Gayle Keefer Nature Reserve in Rockton in 2021!