2024 Wildflower Walkabout Series

Join Severson Dells and the Natural Land Institute staff and volunteers on an exploration of many of the local wildflower hotspots.  Wildflower Walks showcase what is currently in bloom at various woodland and prairie preserves around Winnebago, Boone and Ogle Counties. All walks will begin at 6:00 p.m. No fee for the walks, but membership in Severson Dells and/or the Natural Land Institute is encouraged.

Registration for all of the walks will be required through EventBrite. Each walk has two leaders, and each group will allow reservations for 20 people. Please register for a maximum of five walks.

For more information, please call 815/335-2915 (SD) or 815/964-6666 (NLI).

Tuesday, April 23 – Howard D. Colman Dells Nature Preserve

Alan Branhagen and Barbara Williams will lead this hike on property owned and managed by NLI. This 96-acre Nature Preserve is located along Hall Creek, southwest of Rockford. One of the attractive features of this preserve is a series of cliffs known as the dells. Many unique plants restricted to limestone and dolomite outcrops are found here, as well as some northern relict plants. Located near the intersection of East Severson Road and North Weldon Road. From Meridian and Montague Road, drive south and turn west onto McGregor Road, turn north onto Weldon Road. Moderate-difficult hiking.

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

Wednesday, May 1 – Anna Page Park

Joni Denker of the Rockford Park District and Daniel Pohl of the Illinois Natural History Survey will lead this walk at Rockford Park District’s Anna Page Park. We will travel through a variety of plant communities, from creek bottoms to maple forest to view marsh marigolds, trillium, blue-eyed marys and numerous other spring flowers. Moderate hiking, possibly with muddy areas. We will meet at the large parking lot at the westernmost point along the park loop road (not the parking area by the playground and bathrooms).

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

Tuesday, May 7 – Pecatonica Wetlands Forest Preserve

Connie McIntosh and Kathy Martinez will take us on a tour of the Pecatonica Wetlands Forest Preserve, which includes river edge floodplain forest, oxbow pond marshes and upland forest along the Pecatonica River. The site has outstanding spring flora and birdlife. Please meet on Blair Road on the north side of the forest preserve. Hiking will be easy to moderate.

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

Wednesday, May 15 – Kinnikinnick Creek Conservation Area

Aaron Minson, Boone County Conservation District, and Brian Hale, Conservation District Volunteer, take us through the recently restored prairie and basswood, hickory and white oak forest to explore the wildflowers in northern Boone County. Kinnikinnick Creek Conservation Area is located 3.2 miles north of Route 173 on Caledonia Road. The entrance is just north of North Boone School Road. Moderate hiking.

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

Tuesday, May 21 – Burr Oak Valley Nature Preserve

Zach Grycan and Laura Helmich, Natural Land Institute staff, will lead us through this 99-acre property that is owned and managed by NLI. The natural communities we will visit include mesic upland forest, dolomite prairie, dolomite cliff and intermittent stream. Expect to see blue-eyed grass, Columbine, maidenhair fern, and the rare kittentails. Please park at the northern entrance of the preserve at Cross and Crown Lutheran Church, 7404 Elevator Rd. in Roscoe. Moderate hiking.

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

Wednesday, May 29 – Bald Hill Prairie Preserve

Join us for an evening at Bald Hill Prairie Preserve in Mt. Morris with Byron Forest Preserve District’s Russell Brunner and Scott Kruger. This Preserve has endangered wooly milkweed, several recently restored bur oak savannas and is home to the Big Tree Champion for the State of Illinois, an Eastern cottonwood that is 28.5 feet in circumference and 122 feet tall. The preserve is also home to many nesting grassland birds such as bobolinks, Eastern meadowlarks, and short-eared owls. Bald Hill Prairie Preserve address is 5502 North Silver Creek Road, Mt. Morris. Moderate hiking.

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

Tuesday, June 4 – Colored Sands Nature Preserve

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County natural resource staff will lead the group on an exploration of the sand country at Colored Sands Forest Preserve. The plant community is unique to dry sand prairies, which once dominated this area but are now very rare. Meet at the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory parking lot, at the end of Haas Road near Durand, with your wildflower book (if you’d like) and bug spray. Easy to moderate hiking.

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

Wednesday, June 12 – Cedar Cliff Forest Preserve

Explore one of the newest forest preserves and plants rescued from Bell Bowl Prairie with Forest Preserves of Winnebago County natural resource staff. We will walk through a restored prairie and head to the forest full of Chinquapin, Bur and Red Oaks on the cliffs over- looking the Rock River. Take Highway 2 south, turn right on Kishwaukee Road and drive for 3.8 miles. Cedar Cliff Forest Preserve will be on the right side of the road at 7901 Kishwaukee Road, Stillman Valley. Moderate-difficult hiking

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

Tuesday, June 18 – Keiselberg Forest Preserve

Lena Verkulian and Lisa Johnson will lead this trip to discover the natural beauties of native prairie remnants and restoration in North Central Illinois. We will work our way through many prairie and sedge meadow communities from dry to wet. Keiselberg is located at 5801 Swanson Road in Roscoe. Hiking will be easy.

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

Wednesday, June 26 – Harlem Hills Prairie Nature Preserve

Alan Branhagen and Jerry Paulson will offer their expertise on this visit to Harlem Hills Prairie Nature Preserve. If we hit it just right, the hills should be bright with the pink and purple of the pale purple coneflowers. The always-beautiful sunset will be a bonus on this favorite of walks. Please meet on Flora Drive in Loves Park. Easy hiking.

Click here to register for this walk via the Eventbrite website.

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