“The mission of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission (INPC) is to assist private and public landowners in protecting high quality natural areas and habitats of endangered and threatened species; in perpetuity, through voluntary dedication or registration of such lands into the Illinois Nature Preserves System. The Commission promotes the preservation of these significant lands and provides leadership in their stewardship, management and protection.”
The Illinois Nature Preserves System was established by state law in 1963. Dependent on popular and multi-agency support and collaboration, it protects the state’s finest woodlands, prairies, and wetlands for the benefit of science, the interested public, and, most of all, for the survival of nature itself. Preserves vary in size from as little as one acre to as large as 2000 acres. They may be dedicated and maintained by private landowners, conservation organizations, county Forest Preserves, and other state or local agencies.
This framework legally protects Nature Preserves from development and misuse while providing staff and commissioners to oversee good management. Friends seek to shine a bright light on fine stewardship by staff and volunteers while raising resources and support to boost needed actions including invasives control, prescribed burns, and other stewardship. In many cases, the health and biodiversity of Nature Preserves benefit dramatically from such help.
Donald R. Dann
George M. Covington, Chair
Dr. Abigail Derby-Lewis
Dr. Penelope DauBach
William E. McClain
Dr. Jo-Elle Mogerman
Dr. Charles Ruffner
Dr. David L. Thomas
Black and green dots show 596 Illinois Nature Preserves and Land and Water Reserves.
These sites were recognized and preserved as natural areas of the highest quality.
In recent years, budget cuts, “sweeps” of land acquisition funds, loss of land stewardship funds, and reduction in staff have hurt the System. Support from partner organizations like the Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois Audubon Society, Openlands, Prairie State Conservation Coalition, The Nature Conservancy, and the Sierra Club has helped. But despite this support, preserves have deteriorated and species are being lost from many sites. The System has for four years been without a Director in Springfield to promote, facilitate, and oversee the staff and program. The Friends are working alongside other partners to bring statewide focus to budget needs and policy proposals and opportunities of importance to the System.
Nature preserves that lack consistent care can lose the features that make them so important. Thriving preserves of biodiversity are among the greatest heritages this generation can pass on to the future. An educated and engaged public is a critical underpinning of all aspects of the Nature Preserves System.
We, the Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves, dedicate ourselves to the support of the noble efforts of the staffs of all partner organizations and of the plants, animals, and ecologies of the preserves themselves. Find out how you can get involved: