Southern Illinois’ largest conservation nonprofit invites you to prepare for spring by engaging with nature in a variety of ways this season. From volunteer work days to educational opportunities, and a Conservation at Home & Garden sale, HeartLands Conservancy has something to offer every environmental enthusiast in 2021. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of ecological, cultural, and community value, HeartLands Conservancy looks forward to another year of positive transformation in our region.
Some of the organization’s 2020 accomplishments include:
152 acres of wetlands, prairies, and cultural sites conserved
508 trees planted throughout the region
4.4 million lbs of pollutants prevented from reaching lakes and streams
1,050 hours of volunteer hours clocked
750 citizen science observations recorded
602 milkweed varieties planted for monarch butterfly habitat expansion
In 2021, HeartLands Conservancy remains focused on advocating and partnering for the protection of important places and the development of solutions that balance conservation strategies with economic sustainability and human well-being. Below are some of the organization’s ongoing restoration efforts for which the public is invited to get involved.
HeartLands Conservancy Special Initiatives
Poag Sand Prairie | Edwardsville, IL Over the past few years, Poag Sand Prairie has undergone a major transformation. Many invasive Siberian elm trees have been removed, and native plants are beginning to return to the site. On March 11th, 2021, beginning at 4:00pm, experience this unique property by participating in a volunteer day, followed by a “Frog Walk” with Dr. Richard Essner of SIUE. Monthly volunteer days are scheduled for the last Friday of every month from 9:00am-11:00am
Signal Hill Outdoor Classroom | Belleville, IL The Signal Hill Outdoor Classroom will receive a 20ft x 20ft pavilion this spring, thanks to the REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois (RASI) and Phillips 66. In addition, the boardwalk across the old Peterson’s Pond will be complete for public use. Monthly volunteer days are scheduled for the third Friday of every month from 9:00am-11:00am
Exploration Garden at Clinton Hills Conservation Park | Swansea, IL
Last fall, 4 acres of grass at the Swansea Clinton Hills Conservation Park were removed to be converted into native wildflower habitat as part of the Swansea Exploration Garden, funded by the Illinois Clean Energy Community foundation. This year, the public will start noticing new growth on the site, although flowers will still be limited. In addition, the installation of a rain garden is being planned for later this spring - a project that is funded by Illinois American Water.
There are no volunteer dates scheduled for the site at this time. Stay tuned for updates.
HeartLands Conservancy Upcoming Events
Backyard Birding Blitz | March 1 - April 30
All you have to do to participate is:
• Be located in one of the following counties in Illinois: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, or Washington
• Download the iNaturalist App
• Take a picture or a sound recording of a bird in your backyard and upload it using the Taxa: Birds
Conservation at Home and Garden Sale (online) | March 15 - April 22
Online sales begin Monday, March 15th and are live through Earth Day (Thursday, April 22nd)! Orders can be picked up at the Swansea Clinton Hills Conservation Park on Saturday, May 8th from 1-4pm.