Illinois Nature Preserves Weekend

Celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Illinois Nature Preserves System this August!

Illinois Nature Preserve status is the most powerful level of protection a natural area can receive from the state of Illinois. Since its creation 60 years ago, 622 preserves have been dedicated by their landowners and legally protected by the state. Scattered throughout Illinois, these natural areas represent the breadth and quality of the different ecosystems of the state. This is cause for celebration!

Join Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves as we mark this anniversary with a weekend full of programs across the state.

  • Saturday, August 26, join one of the dozens of special tours happening in Nature Preserves throughout Illinois (to find the tour happening closest to you, open this map or view the map below, and click on any pin to access information about that site’s event).
  • Sunday, August 27, we will be having an artist talk and gallery showing of painter Philip Juras’ oil paintings of 23 different Nature Preserves on display at the Illinois State Museum in Lockport.
    • 2:00 pm – Gallery opens
    • 3:00 pm – Gallery Walk with Philip Juras @ IL State Museum – Lockport Gallery
    • 4:15 pm – Nature Preserves Celebration and cocktail reception @ Gaylord Building
  • Monday, August 28, at Illinois Beach Resort in Zion there will be a special public meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission, where state officials will officially recognize August as Illinois Nature Preserve Month. On August 28, 1963, Illinois passed the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act establishing the Illinois Nature Preserves System. Read the Amendment to House Resolution 149 that officially declares August 2023 as Illinois Nature Preserves Month.

Besides the opportunity to become better acquainted with the process to protect Illinois nature, we will also have the chance to show our elected officials how much protecting nature matters to the conservation community. Advocates and activists for natural areas spurred the creation of the Nature Preserve system 60 years ago, and they are also the ones who have continued to save and celebrate the incredible wildernesses of Illinois. This is not just a private party for big wigs—this is where anyone who cares about the future of our ecosystems can gather and set the agenda for the next 60 years of Prairie State preservation.

Read more about 60 years of Illinois Nature Preserves and check out virtual Nature Preserves content on our 60th Anniversary page.

Have questions or want more information on any of the events listed below? Please contact Amy at

In addition to the events listed above, check out additional events hosted by even more partners!

Tawny Oaks Native Plant Sale hosted by the Peoria Park District at Singing Woods Nature Preserve

  • 9am–4pm on August 26

More information is available here.

Celebratory Butterfly Walk at Warbler Ridge hosted by Grand Prairie Friends

  • 11:00am on August 26

Registration is required here.

Dayton Bluff’s Anniversary Hike hosted by The Conservation Foundation

  • 9:30am on August 26

Registration is required here.