Whiteside County Soil and Water
Conservation District
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Natural Area Guardians

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The Whiteside County Natural Area Guardians, formed as a sub-committee of the Whiteside County Soil and Water Conservation district in 1988, is a group of volunteers dedicated to the preservation, restoration and management of the remaining natural areas and their flora and fauna in Whiteside County.



     { Locate and inventory natural areas in Whiteside County

{ Encourage preservation and management of natural areas

{ Obtain funding to purchase or lease natural areas in the county

{ Promote awareness through field trips and educational programs

{ Manage natural areas received by Whiteside County SWCD

{ Help establish seed banks of endangered species

{ Preserve for future generations the remaining natural areas

{ Work closely with Natural Land Institute, IL Department of  Transportation,     Illinois     Nature Preserves Commission,  Department of Natural Resources and other related agencies

{ Provide mutual support to the SWCD



     | Manage several prairie cemeteries in the county

| Continue the  Lyndon Agnew Prairie restoration along I-88

| Continue restoration & management of two wetland tracts purchased by the NAGs: Agnew, 10 acres, and  Spring Slough, 24 acres

| Lease and manage a 58 acre section of Spring Slough wetland owned by four landowners in  northwest Montmorency Township

| Work with the Sterling Park District in the management of the Thomas Park Prairie Restoration

| Manage the expanded prairie restoration project on the campus of Sauk Valley Community College

| Assist landowners dealing with natural land management

| Provide scholarships for college students pursuing careers in conservation related fields of study

| Offer monetary grants to teachers for environmental projects

| Assist with Eagle Scout and 4-H club projects

| Published “The Self-Guided Tour of Whiteside County,” and “Prairie Plants of Whiteside County”

| Conduct field trips and participate in programs such as Bald Eagle Days

| Hold annual art show to celebrate nature and the beauty of natural art forms



     When the first settlers came to Whiteside County,  they were greeted with a rich diversity of woods, wetlands, tall waving grasses, and a myriad of flowers, butterflies, and mammals.  The growth of NAG groups in Illinois is one of the most positive steps being taken to save what remains of our local natural heritage for those who are yet to come. 

     When asked if a small group could really make a difference, Margaret Mead replied, “They are the only ones who make a difference.”

     The Whiteside County NAGs meet on the second Thursday of each month.  Winter meetings are normally held in Morrison.  Summer meetings are held in various locations in conjunction with field trips or work projects.  Members receive minutes and notices of activities.  Both “hands on” members and those who contribute moral and monetary support are of vital importance to the group.

    The ability to view a delicate shooting star in bloom or a vast sea of pale purple coneflower is perhaps the most precious legacy you can pass on to your grandchildren.  Join us and become part of a group that strives to “make a difference.”

To become a NAGS member click on the application here: NAGS Membership Application

Natural Area Guardians Scholarship

The Scholarship Committee of the Whiteside County Natural Area Guardians is proud to announce that Erin Stichter, the daughter of Brandon and Casey Stichter of Erie, is the recipient of the Natural Area Guardians scholarship for the 2020-2021 school year.

Erin is a 2018 graduate of Erie High School and will be a senior at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, pursuing a degree in Agronomy. She has been involved in a wide variety of experiences in soils and conservation. She has been part of the Iowa State University Judging Team, is president of the Agronomy Club, and has studied abroad in Costa Rica. Erin has received hands-on work experiences while interning at Sargent’s, Golden Harvest Seeds, and Wyffels Hybrids. At Iowa State, Erin has been involved in soybean research and is a teaching assistant in a soil science class. These are just some of her many accomplishments.

Every year, the Whiteside County Natural Area Guardians, a committee of the Whiteside County Soil and Water Conservation District, offers scholarships to college students in their junior or senior year who are pursuing a degree in the area of conservation, agriculture, and/or environment. Further information concerning the group or the scholarship is available at:

Thank you!



A Few Comments from the NAGS:

As with everyone else, the Natural Area Guardians have been impacted by the Covid 19 virus. Several regular meetings had to be cancelled and activities were limited. Fortunately, one thing that we were able to accomplish was the scholarship award.

Our members have been involved in several small-group (sometimes 1 to 4) work activities. Kyle and Jim Duis painted the Agnew sign and with Keller’s also did some non-paint “brush” removal as well. With guidance from Dave Harrison, Ron Shank mowed the former railroad beds at Lyndon-Agnew and the Agnew Triangle. Many thanks to Ron for his work. We also appreciate the cooperation and help from Rick and Mindy Cadogan who live near (almost within) the Lyndon-Agnew Prairie.

On June 28th, a group met for lunch and a tour of Dean Huisingh’s prairie and nursery. Dean has successfully started about 90 species of endangered, threatened, and rare prairie plants at his nursery. Our thanks to the Huisingh’s for hosting this wonderful outing. Enjoy the photos below. 
Later this month, a tour is in the planning stages of the Hahnaman Sand Prairie, owned by Greg Wahl. Greg has a list of many endangered plants, insects and animals that are present in this prairie south of Rock Falls. He is happy to share what he has been busy doing there. Watch for notices through Facebook and emails.

Kyle announced that the group needs more members to help with tree-removal, burns and seed-picking. Social distancing is not difficult to carry out in these outdoor activities. If able to put in a few hours, contact Kyle at the Andresen Nature Center in Fulton at 815-208-7059 or AndresenNatureCenter@gmail.com.

We have no magic ball to predict the future, but hopefully this pandemic will eventually be tamed and we can get back to our normal activities. Be wise, stay safe.

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