You can be a Nygren Preserve land steward

At a time when concerns about global warming are claiming national headlines, local groups are working to be part of the solution at places like the Nygren Wetland Preserve near Rockton, Ill. And they need your help.

The Natural Land Institute is looking for volunteers to plant trees, shrubs and grasses at the preserve Saturday, June 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free event is open to families, groups and individuals who want to be good stewards of the land while enjoying the beauty of the 720-acre wildlife sanctuary along the Pecatonica and Rock rivers.

Each plant that is put into the ground reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that contributes to global warming. Each plant does this by capturing carbon dioxide gas from the air and pumping it into the soil. Once in the soil, the carbon is converted into rich organic matter, and no longer contributes to the global warming process.

Volunteers have restored thousands of plants to the wetlands, prairies and forests at the Nygren Wetland Preserve since restoration of the land began in 2000. The planting and stewardship work continues each year, and you are invited to take advantage of this special opportunity June 10 to visit the preserve, and to plant a bur oak tree or prairie grass. Although the world is large and global warming a huge problem, the plants you put in the soil will make a difference.

The Nygren Wetland Preserve is at 2810 W. Rockton Rd. From Rockton, travel west on Union Street (Rockton Road) for about 1-1/2 miles. A sign marks the entrance to the preserve on the south side of the road. Parking is available by the red shed.

The Natural Land Institute is a private, not-for-profit conservation organization that, since 1958, has preserved some of the best prairies, forests and wetlands in northern Illinois. For information, call 815/964-6666.

From the May 31-June 6, 2006, issue

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