Natural Area Guardians
The LaSalle County Natural Area Guardians is a subcommittee of the LaSalle County Soil and Water Conservation District. Our group was formed in 1990 to provide an organized means for locating and preserving natural areas in LaSalle County. Additional goals include obtaining funding to purchase natural areas, encouraging and aiding landowners to wisely manage natural areas, and promoting and providing educational programs concerning natural areas. We are a volunteer group of rural and urban people of differing ages and background who share a common interest and concern for the environment of our county.
In the 1690’s a Frenchman who wrote under the name of De Gannes described the upper Illinois River that passes through present day LaSalle County. He wrote: “Here you ordinarily…see the buffalo. As for turkeys, there are quantities of them There is a game bird that is abundant which is a good deal like French pheasant, and which is very good…. Here you begin to see the beauty of this country, both for the soil, which yields bountifully, and for the abundance of animals. You see places on the side (of the river) that are unwooded prairies…, and on the other side valleys spreading half a league before reaching hills, which have no trees but walnuts and oaks….More than an arpent in the in the woods you find marshes which in autumn and spring are full of bustards, swans, ducks, cranes, and teals. Ten steps farther on are the hills covered with wood extending about an eighth of a league from the edge of which are seen prairies of extraordinary extent." - Prairie State, Paul Angle, The University of Chicago Press, 1968
What is a natural area?
It is a basically intact, well defined community of native plants and animals that has remained relatively undisturbed by human activity. In LaSalle County these areas include prairies, forests, and wetlands that still have most of their pre-settlement plant and animal species.
Why preserve natural areas?
Natural areas make up part of our county’s heritage and natural history. These communities existed in harmony with the environment for thousands of years but have largely disappeared since rapid settlement began in the 1840s. Natural communities play a very practical role in maintaining our overall environmental quality. We also have a responsibility to future generations to preserve what remains of these areas so that our county’s natural history will be more than just pages in a book.
How can you help?
Labor and funds are needed to locate, inventory, and preserve the few remaining natural areas in LaSalle County. Join our group and become involved in our county’s natural heritage.
THIS GROUP IS CURRENTLY INACTIVE