Pecatonica River book released

Pecatonica River book released


The Natural Land Institute has released a new publication, Pecatonica River Watershed: Knowing the Past, Creating the Future. In the book, residents of northern Illinois tell of life along the Pecatonica River and give accounts of farming, floods, wildlife, clamming, making maple syrup and recreation. The project was developed to increase appreciation and protection for the land and waters in the watershed.

Pecatonica historian Faye Hilton calls the book a keepsake. “This is a unique contribution to historical records, because people relate experiences of themselves and family members—a time period covering about 150 years. I’m pleased to have volunteered, along with other Pecatonica Historical Society members, in helping the Natural Land Institute with historical research.”

“Taping and transcribing interviews with people who could define the distinct natural and historical features of Stephenson and Winnebago counties took about two years,” said project coordinator Sue Merchant, of the Natural Land Institute. “Their accounts and their familiarity with plant and animal life of the region remind us that we are not distanced from nature. They value the land and water and portray the need to protect our limited resources.”

The 72-page publication features a geology section by Pearl City resident Steve Simpson, who teaches at Highland Community College in Freeport. Geri Weinstein-Breunig of Cultural Waters initiated the book’s focus on cultural values. Photographs of people, wildlife and places from the region are found throughout the book. Artist Jeanne Rager’s original watercolor painting of Sumner Island at the Winnebago-Stephenson county line adorns the front and back covers of the book.

The project is funded in part by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation 2000 Program. The not-for-profit Natural Land Institute has a 42-year history of working with landowners to preserve the natural qualities of their land. It qualified for funding through participation in the Sugar-Pecatonica Rivers Ecosystem Partnership.

Copies of Pecatonica River Watershed: Knowing the Past, Creating the Future are available at no cost to schools, libraries, contributing organizations and project participants. A limited number can be purchased for $10 ($12 if mailed) by calling the Natural Land Institute at (815) 964-6666 or the Pecatonica Historical Society at (815) 239-1577.

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