Sites and Projects

Hanley Savanna

Hanley Savanna is a landscape level prairie restoration that has taken place over the past seven years. Initiated by the Northwest Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts in 2003, this site has restored several types of native prairie.

The site connects the Lost Mound Unit of the Upper Mississippi River U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge with the Hanover Bluff Complex. This connection has created a complex of natural areas from the bluff tops down through the Mississippi River. It is a site for nature, where people are welcome, with marked hiking trails throughout the site. An excellent area to observe native prairie plants and grassland birds.

Address:  9417 Whitton Road, Hanover, IL 61041


In 2018, the Northwest Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts recently received a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.

The purpose of the grant is to further NIPE's prairie restoration efforts at Hanley Savanna in Hanover. This 18-month stewardship challenge grant began May 1, giving NIPE the opportunity to receive up to $27,000 in cash disbursements and up to $5,000 in equipment purchase matching funds. NIPE in turn must continue its prairie restoration and management efforts; obtain private cash donations to take advantage of the three dollar grant match for every one dollar donated; increase its volunteer work efforts at Hanley Savanna; and increase its publicity and community outreach efforts.

Other Research Projects

Ongoing Mycorrhizal Fungi Research:  College junior Noah Haskins provides an update on his research regarding site history effect on relative rates of mycorrhizal fungi interactions in prairie restorations:  Last summer and September, he created his database by collecting plant roots with mycorrhizal fungi from six sites with differing soil characteristics and restoration histories.  Since then, he has been working to format the dataset for statistical computer analysis.  Noah has also been reviewing relevant studies involving either prairie restoration or the fungi.  He hopes to write and publish a peer-reviewed scientific paper that will offer conclusions and spur other researchers to look further into effects of prairie restorations on soil fungi.

New Butterfly Survey Plans:   In the January 2019 Seed Shed Doings blog, NIPE’s Rickie Rachuy wrote about Becky Janopoulos’ lifelong interest raising Monarch butterflies (click here to see the blog post).  Becky plans to take her interest in butterflies to NIPE’s Hanley Savanna this coming summer, where she will create a comprehensive list of the various species of butterflies found there.

Karner blue butterflies are of particular interest.  Becky notes that “We do have the host plant for the Karner blue at Hanley, Lupinus perennis (wild lupine). So there is always a small chance that we could find a Karner blue there.   I did not see any last summer.  I am working on getting several populations of lupine established in different locations within Hanley to support a population of Karner blues in the future.”  (Wild lupine photo by Joel Trick, USFWS)