2021 Wildflower Walkabout Series

An Annual Favorite Hike Series Returns! 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 this year through EventBrite.  Each walk has two leaders, and each group will allow reservations for 10 people. 

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

Tuesday, April 27 – Anna Page Park

Barbara and Dan Williams 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. 

Wednesday, May 5 – Piscasaw Fen

Join Aaron Minson and Brian Hale on a hunt for spring wildflowers in the fen and oak savanna habitats of Piscasaw Fen. Guests will also see the habitat restoration at this Boone County Conservation District site. The Piscasaw Fen is located at 8605 Norris Ln., Capron. Easy hiking.

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

Tuesday, May 11- Burr Oak Valley Preserve

Zach Grycan and Laura Helmich, Natural Land Institute staff, will lead us through some of 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 19- Pecatonica River Forest Preserve

Mark Keister and Don Miller will take us on a tour of the Pecatonica River 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 bird life. Please meet at 7260 Judd Road, Pecatonica at the picnic shelter. Hiking will be easy to moderate.

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

Tuesday, May 25 – Colored Sands Nature Preserve

Lee and Lynda Johnson, long-time naturalists, 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 2- Searls Prairie Nature Preserve

Joni Denker of the Rockford Park District and Jack Armstrong, Severson Dells and Rockford Park District board member, will lead this hike through mesic and wet-mesic prairie where prairie dropseed, Indian grass, and big bluestem grow. This site is one of the highest quality wet prairies in the state. Meet at Searls Park on Central Avenue in Rockford across from the soccer fields. Easy hiking, but the area may be wet.

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

Tuesday, June 8 – Bald Hill Prairie Preserve

Join us for an evening at Bald Hill Prairie Preserve in Mt. Morris with Russell Brunner, Superintendent of Land Management, and Educator Susan Kleiman. 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. 

Wednesday, June 16 – Cedar Cliff Forest Preserve

Explore the newest forest preserve with Mike Groves and John Peterson from the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. We will walk through a third year 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 past the airport, 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 22 – Beach Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve

Zach Grycan and Tyler Pellegrini of the Natural Land Institute will be our guides on this 4-acre dry hill prairie in Ogle County.  We will see one of the best displays of flora in remnant prairies in northern Illinois, including prairie dropseed, leadplant, and pale purple coneflowers.  NLI has owned this area since 1972.  From the intersection of IL Rt 251 and Big Mound Road, drive west 2 3/4 miles. The prairie is on the north side of the road-just 1/4 mile east of White Rock Road at 11220 E Big Mound Rd., Davis Junction.  Easy hiking. 

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

Wednesday, June 30 – Harlem Hills Prairie Nature Preserve

Gary Anderson and Jerry Paulson will offer their expertise on this visit to Harlem Hills Prairie. 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.