The Kankakee Sands Section of the Grand Prairie Division was created by a series of glacial flood events that took place 20,000 years ago. Today the area still holds rich habitat for birds and small animals and has now become the target for restoration and protection. Once part of the Grand Kankakee Marsh system, the area takes its name from its sandy soils, which support globally significant oak barrens, prairies and sedge meadows – 13 natural communities exist within the Kankakee Sands Ecosystem.
More than 600 species of native plants have been restored to the prairies and as a result, the land is teeming with native wildlife. Kankakee Sands provides habitat for more than 240 bird species, including such rare species as the Henslow’s sparrow, northern harrier and least bittern. It is also home to 70 species of butterflies, including the state-endangered regal fritillary butterfly, and more than 900 species of moths. Adding to the roster of diversity are dragonflies, bees, frogs, lizards, snakes, badger, and bison.
Experience the biodiversity of this area in the field under the expert guidance of Fran Harty, The Nature Conservancy Illinois Chapter, and learn about the goals, targets, threats and restoration planned for this region.
Registrants will meet Wednesday evening at the Comfort Inn, Bourbonnais, for an overview and discussion during a buffet dinner. Thursday will focus on the Pembroke Sand Savannas and Efroymson Restoration with trips to Iroquois Conservation Area Land and Water Reserve and Pembroke Savanna Nature Preserve. The Momence wetlands will be featured on Friday as we take in Island Park, Stateline Bridge and Momence Wetland and Water Reserve.
Registrants will be responsible for making their own hotel reservations. A block of rooms has been set at the Comfort Inn, Bourbonnais at a rate of $85 (plus tax), breakfast included. 815.401.5043. Please mention the “Illinois Audubon Society” block when making your reservation.
Trip cost will include van transportation throughout field trip, lunch Thursday and Friday, dinner Wednesday night, snacks, water and resource materials. Dinner Thursday night is not included, however there will be a suggested dinner location for those who would like to dine together.
Trip leader: Fran Harty
Maximum field trip capacity: 12