Northwest Illinois

The Northwest Illinois chapter works in the Driftless Area of Illinois.  The area contains hill prairie, oak woodland, sand prairie, oak savanna,  sedge meadow, oak barren, and tallgrass (black soil) prairie. We work to protect, restore and manage these fire-dependent habitats.

NIPE projects are primarily located within Jo Daviess, Carroll, and Stephenson Counties in Illinois. We invite you to join us!

Learn more on our About our chapter and Sites and Projects web pages.

Board representative:  Jim Rachuy
Chapter contact: Susan Lipnick, 815-776-0223 (no texts),

Facebook: Chapter page


What's New

Land Manager’s Report:

Ed Strenski’s crew has continued the trek up the Richardson addition to Horseshoe Mound in Galena, working with the Galena Area Land Enthusiasts to clear the steep, rocky slopes and outcroppings of unwanted trees and brush.  So far, seven acres have been seeded to help restore the oak savanna on this property owned by the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation.  The hard work thinning the trees has revealed striking dolomite rock formations, prompting some passersby to ask about the “ruins” at the top of the mound.

NIPE’s Hanley Savanna in Hanover has kept the crew busy clearing a fence line along the savanna toward Lewis Prairie.  To make fire breaks around Eagle and Lark Prairies, the focus has been on clearing trees and brush.

NIPE also helped burn 15 acres of prairie at Casper Bluff in Galena.  We hope for drier weather this spring, as last year's wet weather curtailed the spring prescribed fire season. 

Seed Coordinator’s Report: 

Barb Siekowski notes that late winter is mostly an indoor-time for her as she updates files concerning last year’s projects and overseedings and sites where plants were available for seed picking.  With the advent of spring, preparation for this year’s seed collection has begun.  Barb is compiling the 2020 Species Conservation Program (SCP) task list; researching site availability; gaining picking permission from property owners; and scheduling tentative seed pick dates.

At NIPE’s SCP gardens at Lonetree Farm, 17 species will be added to seed propagation efforts.  In addition, restoration ecologist Leanne Martin will begin touring this year's restoration projects - including sites at Horseshoe Mound and Wapello Land and Water Reserve - to complete seed mix designs.

Hanley Savanna Doings:

Upcoming Pollinator Program:  On Sunday, June 28, 2020, 1 - 3 p.m., NIPE will host a program at Hanley Savanna’s shelter to celebrate National Pollinator Week 2020.  Biologist Beverly Paulsan will present “Native Plants Need Native Pollinators,” exploring the important relationships between native plants and native pollinators. 

In addition to the presentation, event participants can peruse interpretive signage and a trail map of Hanley Savanna in the shelter.  Weather permitting, participants also can tour the various prairies and savannas via a wagon ride or on foot. 

ICECF Public Amenities and Events Grant:  The past year of planning for the use of these funds is coming to fruition!  NIPE has purchased and installed three benches along some of the trails at Hanley Savanna.  The design of the interpretive signs and trail map for the Hanley shelter is complete, and the signage and map will be installed soon.  The grant will also fund the June 28 Pollinator Program.

Board of Directors Opportunities: 

Anticipating his retirement as NIPE’s Land Manager at the end of this year, Ed Strenski has relinquished his position on the NIPE Board of Directors.  Paul Rode’s terms have expired, requiring him to take at least a one-year hiatus before considering re-election to the Board of Directors.  Thank you, Ed and Paul, for your years of dedicated service to NIPE!  If you are interested in helping direct this wonderful organization, please contact Laura Dufford at or (815) 541-8958.