2017 Events


Wander at the Wetland: Full Moon Snowshoe & Hike
Friday, February 10, 2017, 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Location: Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 West Rockton Road, Rockton, Illinois

Admission: Free

You are invited to a winter exploration of Nygren Wetland Preserve on Friday, February 10, 2017. We’ll have two bonfires, hundreds of luminaries lining the prairie trail, hot cocoa and cookies in the winter themed greenhouse and ongoing guided tours throughout the evening. Bring your own snowshoes or skis or you can borrow a pair of snowshoes at the event for a $10 donation to NLI. Luminaries sponsored by NorthPointe Health & Wellness and snowshoes sponsored by Rocktown Adventures. Please register for this FREE event by Thursday, February 9, 2017: call 815/964-6666 or email: info@naturalland.org


Annual Dinner
and Presentation of the George and Barbara Fell Award

Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Cost: TBA

This is Natural Land Institute’s yearly gathering of supporters and community leaders to learn about current efforts and future plans. In addition to socializing and dinner, the Board of Trustees will recognize outstanding land conservation achievement and leadership with the presentation of the George and Barbara Fell Award. This year’s program will include Guest Speaker, Arthur Melville Pearson, author of the book, Force of Nature: George Fell, Founder of the Natural Areas Movement. He will sell and sign copies of Force of Nature, at the Annual Dinner (official release date for the book is set for Apr. 18, 2017). Registration open after February 1, 2017.

Prescribed Burn Training Workshop
Sunday, March 26, 2017 – 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Learn how to manage your own land or when volunteering for NLI or other conservation organizations. In this workshop you will learn how to conduct a prescribed burn and tips on best practices from Zach, a Certified Prescribed Burn Manager. The workshop will be based on Chicago Wilderness’ Midwest Ecological Prescription Burn Crew Member Training Manual.

The morning session will be classroom style at Rockton Fire Protection District (201 N. Blackhawk Blvd. Rockton, IL 61072), lunch will be on your own, and the afternoon session will be at Nygren Wetland Preserve (3190 W. Rockton Rd., Rockton), where participants will assist with a late spring prescribed burn, weather permitting. Cost: $62 (Includes the 155 page Burn Manual).

Topics to be covered will include discussion of fire behavior and suppression, effective use of hand and power tools, effective use of water to aid fire suppression, conducting a prescribed burn, ecological effects of fire.

Registration deadline: Fri., Mar. 24, 2017. Register and pay by phone: 815/964-6666, email: info@naturalland.org, or mail a check to: Natural Land Institute, 320 S. Third St., Rockford, IL 61104.


Spring Public Stewardship Day
Saturday, date TBA 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Location: TBA

Admission: Free

Help protect the natural habitat of this preserve by removing non-native species. This is a fun outdoor activity for families, scout and 4-H clubs, all kinds of groups, and individuals of all ages. Registration requested for this FREE activity by Friday, date tba.


Family Nature Day
Saturday, June 24, 2017, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Location: Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 West Rockton Road, Rockton, Illinois

Admission: Free

Bring the Family and Discover the Joy of Nature! Kids to grandparents will have fun exploring the wonders of the blooming prairies and wetlands by visiting 10 learning stations to earn a Nygren Wetland Junior Naturalist Badge for children and a special reward for adults. Past learning stations included: Prairies, Butterflies & Seeds, Forests, Wetlands, Birds, Mammals with Two Toads Environmental Experiences, Pollinators, Invaders, Macktown Living History & Archeology, Raptors with Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education. Guided tours of the Anne Meyer Wildflower Garden will be ongoing throughout the event. Cost is free. Registration is requested for this FREE event by Friday, June 23, 2017. Please be sure to say how many kids are in your party. Call 815/964-6666, Email: info@naturalland.org.


Party on the Prairie
Saturday, July 15, 2017, 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Location: Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 West Rockton Road, Rockton, Illinois

Admission: $75

YNygren Wetland Preserve provides a perfect setting for Natural Land Institute’s every-other year fundraiser, Party on the Prairie, with midsummer wildflowers like Wild Bergamot, False Sunflower, White Prairie Sage and so many more in full bloom. Guests will enjoy a unique experience with the elegance of an outdoor dinner party under a big tent overlooking the prairies and wetlands. A full dinner with dessert, live music, silent auction, guided tours and self-guided walks around the preserve give guests an opportunity to see and experience the beauty of the natural areas and wildlife habitat. Come early for horse drawn carriage rides. Reservation Deadline: Friday, July 7, 2017. To order tickets (Tickets available to purchase online after June 1, 2017) and for more information call 815/964-6666, info@naturalland.org, www.naturalland.org.


Nature Poetry & Prose
Thursday, August 3, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Location: Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 West Rockton Road, Rockton, Illinois

Admission: Free

Join us under the big tent overlooking the prairie for a lovely summer evening while featured writers read their nature themed poetry or prose. Complimentary refreshments will be served. Registration requested for this FREE program by Wednesday, August, 2, 2017. Call 815/964-6666 or email info@naturalland.org.


Fall Prairie Harvest Day
Saturday, September 23, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Location: Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 West Rockton Road, Rockton, Illinois

Admission: Free

Enjoy the end of summer with your family or group outside by collecting seeds from native wildflowers and grasses. This is a great activity for all ages of individuals, families, scout and 4-H clubs, church and corporate groups. Registration requested for this FREE activity by Friday, September 22, 2017. To register call 815/964-6666 or email info@naturalland.org

October (OAKtober)

OAKtober Hike
Saturday, October 21, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Location: Burr Oak Valley Preserve, Roscoe, Illinois

Admission: Free

Celebrate OAKtober – Oak Awareness Month with us. All ages will enjoy a FREE guided tour of Burr Oak Valley Preserve, a private natural area owned by Natural Land Institute. Zach Grycan, NLI’s Director of Stewardship and Ed Cope, Restoration Ecologist, will lead a hike through the rolling hills and oak savannas of this preserve and talk about the ongoing restoration work, general differences between red and white oak trees and their environmental benefits. Hikers should dress for the weather including long sleeves, pants and sturdy shoes. Moderate to difficult level hiking on and off trail. The hike will last about an hour and a half. Please register for this FREE guided tour by Friday, October 20, 2017. Call: 815/964-6666, or email: Info@NaturalLand.org.

LOCATION /PARKING: Burr Oak Valley Preserve is located on Elevator Road in Roscoe, Ill. Parking will be on site - look for flags at the entrance (south side of road, one tenth of a mile east of Cross and Crown Lutheran Church, 7404 Elevator Rd., Roscoe, IL 61073). Additional parking is available at the church.