What is central to our mission and critical to all education & programming at our Center?
One hundred and eighty five acres of natural habitat for birds, wildlife, and humans alike! Our land is at the heart of everything we do. It’s allowed us to establish a 40-year reputation of excellence in environmental education for people of all ages.
As you can imagine, 185-acres of natural habitat requires ongoing restoration and preservation to be:
- Ecologically sound
- Accessible to our visitors and students
- Our focal point for teaching natural science education
We strive to restore and manage a mosaic of habitats and return central areas of our property to represent the original Lake Forest (circa pre-1835).
What is required to accomplish our goal?
- Current Forest Restoration Protect at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
- Clearing the land of invasive plant species
- Improving forest diversity through native plantings
- Restoration Forestry
- Fencing to protect trees from deer and other wildlife
- Seasonal invasive eradication
- Grooming hiking trails
- Maintaining bridges
- Continual monitoring of landforms and ecosystems for potential threats
We often hear from our visitors, students, and donors “your process sounds time intensive and expensive”.
In fact, it is a never-ending process and restoration comes at a cost of roughly $5,000-$10,000 per acre or more plus the cost of annual maintenance that follows.
An Immediate Threat – Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)
You’ve read about it, you’ve heard about it, we will soon have it. Nearly half of the Center’s tree canopy is comprised of ash trees. The EAB is a forest devastating, invasive insect of ash trees. While not an immediate threat to human health, it destroys forest and urban tree populations. In fact, it is 100% fatal to native ash trees, healthy or unhealthy.
As part of our current budget for Plant & Wildlife Habitat Management, our response to EAB devastation involves two significant ash tree preservation components:
Educating the public about forest restoration, EAB and treatment alternatives
We are playing a key role in educating other municipalities, individuals, and land management groups about options for treatment and providing ash management guidelines.
Please contact Land Manager Marc White if you are interested in learning more about these services.
Ways you can help us restore, preserve, and maintain our 185-acre natural habitat:
- Volunteer - We will NOT have Land Stewardship volunteering on these dates: Wednesday December 24, Friday December 26, and Wednesday December 31.
- Donate funds to help our efforts
- Learn tips to help you protect your property and the integrity of these shared treasures. Download a Landowners Guide to Ravine and Tableland Preservation by Openlands.