HENNEPIN — Nature lovers will soon have the perfect opportunity to experience the success of the restoration efforts at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, as well as the satisfaction of helping with its future progress.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, volunteers will gather at the refuge’s observation tower with the ecologists and representatives of The Wetlands Initiative. The group will then head out to plant a wide variety of native seedlings at the Sandy Hollow tract.
“We always get a nice local response,” Suzanne Wagner of The Wetlands Initiative said.
This new addition is not yet open to the public, but is scheduled to be opened in June. A similar event was held last year, and ecologists will also be able to see how the seeds of those plants have taken root.
The Sandy Hollow tract is a rare example of prairie and savanna habitats, and its diverse environment provides an important home for a wide number of plants, insects, birds and other animals.
Snacks, water, tools, and gloves will be provided, but please wear appropriate clothing. The fieldwork will consist of planting at sites reached by short hikes through rolling grasslands, so long pants, closed-toe shoes and hats are recommended. Children 16 years old or younger must be accompanied by a parent or other guardian.
The Wetlands Initiative will also be hosting its second Bio Blitz on Aug. 3-4. Volunteer citizen scientists will be working with ecologists to conduct a survey of the several hundred species calling the 3,000-acre site home.
The refuge is located along the Illinois River and Route 26 and is just south of Hennepin. For more information, visit wetlands-initiative.org.