OutdoorIllinois April 2011
Great Outdoors initiative,
a nationwide mission for
the 21st century to pro-tect
our lands and waters
and to reconnect all peo-ple
with our natural and
Development of the ini-tiative
brought together many of today’s
top leaders in conservation and reached
out to a rich diversity of people across
the nation—people with varied stories,
traditions and connections to the wild
resources that define America. Our
rivers, forests, prairies, coasts and moun-tains
that have been a source of national
wealth provide a treasured place where
we reflect, relax, enjoy recreation and
create lasting memories with friends and
family. It is the duty of our generation to
restore and protect these wild national
treasures for all future generations.
Created as an effort to engage grass-roots
organizations and individuals, more
than 50 listening sessions occurred during
the development of the initiative, includ-ing
the Aug. 30, 2010 session in Chicago
involving approximately 400 Illinoisans.
From that collective input, the federal
government developed a
plan to enable communi-ties
to accomplish their
own, local conservation
and recreation priorities.
Key factors in the
plan include the involve-ment
of urban and youth
constituencies and the
alignment of programs
with federal priorities,
including in Illinois the
State Wildlife Action Plan
which provides for science-based
guidelines for landscape-scale, multi-partner
efforts. The action plan, when
implemented, will result in:
accessible parks or Green spaces for
a new generation of urban parks and
community Green spaces
newly restored river restorations and
recreational “blueways” that power eco-nomic
stronger support for farmers, ranch-ers
and private landowners who help
protect rural landscapes and provide
access for recreation
the reinvestment of revenues from oil
and gas extraction into protection of
parks, open spaces, wildlife habitat and
access for recreational activities
a 21st century conservation ethic that
builds on local ideas for environmental
stewardship and connecting to our
historic, cultural and natural heritage
The America’s Great Outdoors initia-tive
stresses the importance of connect-ing
Americans—urban residents and
youth in particular—with the great
outdoors and their natural and cultural
heritage. The initiative also recognizes
the need to conserve and restore Ameri-ca’s
great outdoors, and that achieving
these goals requires collaboration, com-munication
and coordinated efforts
between the public and private sectors.
Here in Illinois, work continues
toward achieving goals of the initiative,
with many upcoming activities focusing
on youth involvement.
Throughout April and May, teams of
youth will head outdoors to participate
in Earth Day in the Parks activities, plant-ing
trees and prairie plants, creating
wetlands and removing invasive plants.
On May 15, 100 youth will gather for
Illinois’ second Youth Conservation
Congress, where students and leaders
will have the opportunity to showcase
their achievements and learn about
many youth-related conservation activi-ties,
ultimately providing for better coor-dination
among these groups statewide.
In June, organized activities will pro-vide
family-oriented fun celebrating Illi-nois’
Leave No Child Inside initiative,
including events at Gebhard Woods State
Park (Morris, June 4 or 5), William Pow-ers
State Park (Chicago, June 4), I&M
Canal Lock 14 (LaSalle, June 11), Moraine
Hills State Park (McHenry, June 11), Volo
Bog State Natural Area (Ingleside, June
12) and McHenry County Conservation
District (Marengo, June 25-26). For addi-tional
information on LNCI events, see
Please share the responsibility. Get
involved locally. Take part in the grass-roots
effort to reconnect Americans
with our great outdoors.
A National Priority:
America’s Great Outdoors
“America’s Great Outdoors—A
Promise to Future Generations”
is available for review at www.americas
Watch a video on the initiative,
learn what is new and share your
thoughts. Be a part of the promise to
Marc Miller, Director
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 4
OUTDOOR ILLINOIS (USPS 0978-720) is published
monthly by the Department of Natural Resources,
Office of Public Services, One Natural Resources Way,
Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone (217) 782-7454,
(Publication number: ISSN 1072-7175)
Periodical Postage Paid at Springfield, IL
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to OUTDOOR
ILLINOIS, Department of Natural Resources, Dept. NL,
One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.
Pat Quinn Governor
Marc Miller Director
John D. Rogner Assistant Director
Leslie Sgro Deputy Director
Deborah C. Stone Deputy Director
Travis Loyd Deputy Director
STAFF: Kristin DiCenso, office director; Kathy Andrews,
editor; Joe McFarland, staff writer; Adele Hodde, chief
photographer; Charles J. Copley, design & layout; Kelly
Frederick, production coordinator; Minak Porter, circu-lation;
Michelle Silver, marketing.
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Internet Address: dnr.state.il.us
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The mission of the Illinois Department of Natural
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natural and cultural resources; provide resource-com-patible
recreational opportunities; and promote natural
resource-related public safety, education, and science.
Printed by the authority of
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April 2011 OutdoorIllinois
Where are we going
How Are We Doing?
Your input is important to us. Please
take a moment and visit www.illinois.
gov/OI to evaluate this issue of
OutdoorIllinois and provide suggestions
for future stories.
On the cover
Spring means the emergence of woodland wild-flowers,
discovering morel mushrooms peeking
through last year’s vegetation, colorful migrato-ry
birds winging their way northward…and
hunters taking to the field in pursuit of the wild
turkey. Photo taken at Moraine View State
Recreation Area, near Leroy in McLean County,
by Adele Hodde.
2 Celebrating Hill Prairies
Volunteers lead a movement to preserve, restore and celebrate the
bluff-top hill prairies in southwest Illinois.
5 Alligator Gar Comeback
It was extirpated from Illinois waters in the 1960s. Now the value of this
gar as a rough-fish predator is aiding in its return.
n Audubon’s Footsteps
This month, adventurers will be retracing John James Audubon’s historic
hike across southern Illinois 200 years ago.
A partnership with Ameren creates a dual-purpose lake, providing power
for customers and a recreational destination for Midwesterners.
The State of Illinois’ Forests
Known as the Prairie State, Illinois also has expansive forest lands.
A recent report documents the health of this resource.
Feathering the Pueblos
Since 1982, sportsmen have contributed some 7.5 million wild turkey feath-ers
to help Native Americans preserve their traditional cultural practices.
Campaigns for Wildlife
Partners join forces to work through Illinois’ Wildlife Action Plan and
SAFE program to provide on-the-ground habitat improvements.
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