OREGON, Ill. — The Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County (PPSOC) has grown from a quiet nonprofit organization that purchased an 11-acre off-the-beaten-track prairie to one that provides programs to the public, tours and best of all, sells Christmas trees!
The trees are growing on what was part of the Sinnissippi Forest and Tree Farm but now is Sand Ridge Prairie, owned by the PPSOC. The farm is at 2879 S. Daysville Road, Oregon, Ill., and is about 2.5 miles south of Highway 64 on the east side of the road (with the PPSOC sign).
For the third year, PPSOC will sell Christmas trees during the month before Christmas to raise money to pay for the land, which has remnants of the finest dry prairie in this part of the state.
In December 2010, PPSOC purchased the land from Warren Miller with the intent to preserve and enhance the remnants. Funds from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation helped pay a large part of the bill. A loan for the remainder of the bill is still being paid off.
Seed collection is ongoing throughout the growing season. Seeds are then spread in areas that need more plants or greater diversity. In the short time that PPSOC has owned the land, remnants are improving.
The trees are a bonus that came with the land. After much discussion, the PPSOC Board decided to sell them each year. Members of the organization donate their time selling, directing people to the places to find the trees they want, and helping cut, tie and load them.
The reaction has been exciting and rewarding. People who had come with their parents to pick and cut the perfect tree for their families were delighted that the operation had re-opened. The happiness on their faces as they arrived with anticipation and left with their prize has been gratifying to all of the volunteers. A new generation is discovering the pleasure of “tree hunting.”
The land is open to the public for tree sales and for tours at selected dates during the rest of the year.
More information will be coming as the sale dates near. Contact Sonia Vogl at (815) 732-7332 for more details.
From the Nov. 6-12, 2013, issue