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Written and Photography By Erin Herbez
Image 2 3ParkLands invited the public to Letcher Basin on June 3rd of this year for an open house style event. 50 friends joined us for a beautiful day on the prairie. We had several area partners present information including: The Ecology Action Center, Illinois Wild Ones, The Illinois Native Plant Society, Master Naturalists, Dr. Ben Sadd of Illinois State University and Guy Fraker. Dr. Ben Sadd led participants through the prairie to identify bumble bees, Eric Smith of IDNR discussed the mussel community on the Mackinaw River, Don Schmidt led a plant identification walk, and Guy Fraker gave a fascinating talk on the historical relevance of the area, including Abraham Lincoln’s use of Wyatt’s Ford. Thank you to everyone that attended!

Written and Photography By Kristin Duffield

ParkLand’s enjoyed a larger-than-expected gathering and perfect weather conditions for the Wildflower Walk on May 5th of this year. To accommodate all attendees, experts Dr. Joe Armstrong (Emeritus Professor of Botany) and Dr. Roger Anderson (Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Ecology) both led groups across the Merwin Preserve to explore the site and learn about local wildflowers. Janice Turner (an Illinois native plant expert) also helped lead a walk and provided her expertise. About the large turnout, ParkLands Director Jim Franks mentioned “The last time I did a wildflower walk a few years ago, I was the only participant. I had Dr. Dale Birkenholz all to myself. So, having 50 people show up was a great turnout.” President Dan Deneen noted that the great turnout was in response to the ParkLands Outreach committee’s hard work in the last few years. Walkers were able to see many different native species of flora and learned a bit of biology along the way. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the highlight of the walk was the spring bloom of bluebells. The walk took place at the peak time of year to see these native blossoms in their full glory, which create a stunning sea of blue across the woodland floor.

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Image 5Written and Photography By Erin Herbez

On July 28th ParkLands hosted our second annual Half Century Ride. This ride was organized by an outstanding committee lead by Paul Van Ness and Molly Munson. We had 180 riders turn out on a beautiful (cool!) summer morning. Our 50-mile riders began at 7am from the Keller Pavilion in Lexington, followed by our 20-mile riders at 8am. Volunteers greeted the riders at two rest-stops, the first stop was located at the West Gate of the Merwin Preserve and the second at the mountain bike trailhead for Comlara Park. At the conclusion of the ride most of us met at Kemp’s Upper Tap in Lexington for a celebratory lunch. We were very pleased that this event has been such a success two years in a row! We hope to continue to introduce cyclists to the Mackinaw River valley in upcoming years. This event would not have been possible without our volunteers, staff and our especially our sponsors: Vitesse Cycle shop, Kemp’s Upper Tap, Prairie Oak Veterinary Center, The VEIN Specialists, Wilson Cycle, Commerce Bank, Daniel G. Deneen Attorney, Deer’s Mill Farm, Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute, Mueller, Reese and Hinch LLC, and Heartland Bank and Trust Company.
Thank you to our riders and we hope to see you again next year!

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Dear ParkLands Foundation Members,

We would like to invite you and your friends to join us at the ParkLands Foundation Annual Meeting on Sunday, September 09, 2018 at Letcher Basin preserve. Members and non-members are invited to join us for this event but we ask that non-members please become members on the day of the event.

We will begin the morning with an optional hike/ hayrack ride around the prairie where you can learn about the flora and fauna of the area including our resident bald eagles and native river mussels.

This will be followed by lunch under the sycamore tree. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch.

During lunch, we will hold a brief annual membership meeting, including a volunteer recognition, followed by a presentation about the natural history of Letcher Basin.

We hope you and your family and friends will join us!

Letcher Basin Preserve, 404 County Rd 1975 E, Secor, IL 61771.
Please see our website events calendar for directions.

    10:30 AM OPTIONAL Nature hike/ hayrack ride at Letcher Basin
    12:00 PM Lunch (boxed lunch or bring your own)
    12:30 PM Formal Membership Meeting and Volunteer thank you
    1:15 PM Presentation about the natural history of Letcher Basin

All programs and hikes will be free of charge and open to the public. Water, porta potties and handwashing stations will be provided. Please be sure to bring your water bottle!


In conformance with Article V, Section 11 and Article VII, Section 2 of the Bylaws, the following slate of nominations for Directors and Officers is hereby presented:

To fill two vacated seats as Director, the following individuals are hereby presented for nomination for a three-year
term (2018-21):

    Douglas Kaufman-Dickson
    Paul Van Ness

Members may nominate candidates for director by petition filed with the secretary (Eric Smith) at least 7 days prior to the annual meeting. The petition must contain the signatures of at least 15 ParkLands members. No nominations are allowed
from the floor during the annual meeting.

The Board will be saying farewell to Les Luginbuhl and James Franks

The following current Directors are hereby presented for nomination to continue for three-year terms (2018-21):

    Eric Smith
    Angelo Capparella

The Board of Directors will consider the following slate of officers for election when they meet on Sept. 09, 2018.
The following slate of nominations for Officers is hereby presented for one-year terms (2018-19):

    Jessica Chambers President
    Eric Smith Vice President
    Nancy Armstrong Treasurer
    Krista Kirkham Secretary
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ParkLands Foundation
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Normal, Illinois 61761-0012

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