The Illinois Audubon Society is launching a fundraising campaign for stewardship at its Helen and Betty Bremer Wildlife Sanctuary. The campaign is tied to a Community Stewardship Challenge Grant the Society received from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The Foundation will match up to $7,000 dollars at a 3-to-1 ratio providing up to $21,000 in total support from the Foundation. Any funds received beyond the $7,000 will also be used for stewardship at Bremer. The completion of 400 hours of volunteer work at the Sanctuary will leverage an additional $4,000 in grant funds from the Foundation, and an additional $2,000 will be earned upon the completion of 100 hours of volunteer time related to publicizing events and volunteer workdays via social media.
The Helen and Betty Bremer Wildlife Sanctuary (HBB) is located near Hillsboro, Illinois, in Montgomery County. In 1977, Helen and Betty Bremer began to donate parcels of their property to the Illinois Audubon Society. The Illinois Audubon Society came into possession of all 203 acres in 1999. In Helen’s words, “I am the fourth and the last generation of my family and we never wanted to see this land torn up into plots or sold for the construction of houses. We want the wildlife to have access to it in perpetuity.” In keeping with the wishes of the Bremer sisters, the goal at the sanctuary is to provide habitat for forest, savanna and grassland birds.
Volunteer stewards at the Helen and Betty Bremer Wildlife Sanctuary are continuously restoring the site’s grasslands and woodlands, but controlling non-native plant species remains the most serious challenge to maintaining the sanctuary’s management goals.
Funds from the Community Stewardship Challenge Grant will be used to remove invasives from a particularly heavily infested area of approximately 13 acres, reseed that area with woodland plants and repair an eroded bank that will allow volunteers to move small machinery across the creek bed to restore and maintain trails. The grant will also provide assistance in purchasing stewardship tools and equipment.
Donations to the Helen and Betty Bremer Wildlife Sanctuary Community Stewardship Challenge Grant fund can be made out to the Illinois Audubon Society and sent to PO Box 2547, Springfield Illinois, 62708 or online here. Please indicate that your gift is for the “HBB Challenge Grant.”