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Local

Service day coming to Midewin in Wilmington

Volunteers expected to turn out for National Public Lands Day

Volunteers across the country are preparing for a national day of service at public sites.

National Public Lands Day is Saturday, Sept. 28. The annaul event is expected to draw more than 100,000 volunteers to participate in service projects at more than 1,000 sites on public lands across the U.S.

At the USDA Forest Service’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington, there will be five morning volunteer restoration activities, an afternoon Fall Colors Interpretive Hike and a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating Midewin as a site in the new Illinois & Michigan Canal Bike Share program.

Volunteer restoration activities

The day will begin at 8 a.m. at the River Road Seedbeds with photos with Woodsy Owl and morning refreshments.

From 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., volunteers, staff and partners will lead the following volunteer activities:

• Harvest seeds at the River Road Seedbeds;

• Salvage native plants for later relocation (requires walking to seek out plants, bending and shallow digging for bulbs);

• Cut invasive brush at a special prairie remnant;

• Cut invasive brush and clear woody debris to protect a historic farmstead;

• Collect aquatic insects to learn about water quality (requires working on shore or wading in a stream; requires ability to swim; please provide size for rubber boots).

To register for the volunteer activities, email allison.cisneros@usda.gov.

Most activiites are appropriate for adults and children age 10 and older. Volunteers will receive a souvenir bandana, a free entrance coupon for national public lands and a free raffle ticket for prizes from The Wetlands Initiative and The Nature Conservancy.

I&M Canal Bike Share

Midewin is a stop in the new I&M Canal Bike Share program.

The new program provides bicycles at locations all along the canal trail, which can be rented for $3 an hour.

A ribbon-cutting will take place at 1 p.m. at the new bike rack at the Iron Bridge Trailhead. The first 50 guests to the ribbon-cutting will receive a free commemorative T-shirt, and everyone will receive an I&M Canal souvenir pin and a coupon to try out the bike share program.

RSVPs can be sent to programs@iandmcanal.org.

Fall colors interpretive hike

Immediately following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, explore the fall colors with other prairie enthusiasts on a one-hour guided interpretive fall colors hike through the asters, bottle gentian, goldenrod and more. Autumn colors of prairie oaks, grasses, sedges and blooms will be at their peak. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in fall colors and learn about tallgrass color transformations.

To register for the fall colors hike, call 815-423-6370.

National Public Lands Day is the largest hands-on volunteer effort in the nation to improve and protect public lands. Find information on social media under the hashtag #ItsAllYours!.

Learn more about the overall impact of National Public Lands Day at www.neefusa.org/npld.

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