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) or

Facebook: Chapter page



What's New

Land Manager’s Report: For the past few years, NIPE Land Manager Ed Strenski has been trying to improve ways to harvest Little Blue Stem. This year, his idea to add “hair extensions” to the combine brush resulted in great success collecting the grass.  (We see NIPE NINJA Becky Janopoulos operating the combine in the photo.) During late fall and early winter, we will seed 50-plus restoration acres at Horseshoe Mound, Gramercy Park, and Heller Hollow. These difficult terrains require sowing by hand. We hope to sow another 30 acres at a newer area, Oneota Prairie, in Hanover. The NINJA team will continue eradicating invasive brush at Horseshoe Mound and Warbler World. With the advent of snow, we can burn accumulated brush piles. 

Seed Coordinator’s Report:  Barb Siekowski, NIPE’s Seed Coordinator, reports that NIPE had a productive 2019. We collected over 2,000 pounds of seed this year! All of this seed was sorted and bagged this fall (see photo) and helped us over-seed dozens of rare species at multiple sites in addition to the 50-plus restoration acres described above. Over two-thirds of the 300 prairie plant species NIPE works with were collected from multiple sites including NIPE/TPE properties, land owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and by the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, Lonetree Farm prairies and rare plant gardens, Galena Territory Association greenspace, private properties, and roadsides. Barb notes, “So much time, effort, and dedication goes into our work. Many, many thanks to you all!”  Thank you, too, Barb! 

New Faces on the Board:  NIPE welcomes two new members to its Board of Directors: Jay Rutherford, who became NIPE’s treasurer on October 1; and Marilyn Anderson, who joined the Board on November 1. We extend our appreciation to Karin Strenski, who stepped down as NIPE Treasurer and Board member, and to Jeff Horn, who has also resigned as Board member.

Lake Carroll Prairies:  Check out pp. 18-19 of the November 2019 issue of The Prairie Promoter for Pam Richards’ article on the various small prairies at Lake Carroll, a residential and recreation community between Lanark and Pearl City, Illinois. Pam and other NIPE stalwarts who live at Lake Carroll have also formed a Prairie Club there, educating residents and staff and promoting volunteer efforts there.  

Hanley Savanna Doings:

Volunteer Picnic:  On October 18, fifteen NIPE members and volunteers came out in the surprisingly cool temperatures for the last prairie seed picking session of the year. A picnic in and near the Hanley Savanna shelter provided a pleasant end to the seed picking season.

ICECF Stewardship grant:  In October, NIPE received its final Stewardship Challenge Grant payment from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for all of the volunteer hours put in at Hanley Savanna during the previous 18 months. NIPE received all funds available through this grant.

ICECF Public Amenities and Events Grant:  The interpretive signs relating to Hanley Savanna are at the sign manufacturer. We are reviewing the initial proofs. Map design is just about done and will soon join the signs for manufacturing.