Byron Forest Preserve District offers free Sunday afternoon lecture series

Staff Report

BYRON, Illinois — Byron Forest Preserve District is offering a series of free Sunday afternoon lectures at the Jarrett Prairie Center, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Illinois. The series runs Feb. 8-March 1, starting at 2 p.m. each Sunday.

Presentations are designed for lifelong learners from older elementary students to senior adults. Programs are free, but advance registration is requested by calling (815) 234-8535.

Following is the lineup:

• Feb. 8 — “The Greater Prairie Chicken in Illinois: A Story of Persistence and Rarity” — Greater prairie chickens are an iconic grassland bird of the prairies of North America. Join Bob Gillespie, natural resources coordinator with the Illinois Natural History Survey, to learn about the history and beauty of this fantastically emblematic wildlife species, current recovery efforts, and the great peril it faces in contemporary times.

• Feb. 15 — “Meteors and Their Impact on Earth” — Many people know that falling or shooting stars are meteors, but what are meteors? Where do they come from? This lecture will examine the origins and characteristics of meteors and meteorites. Presented by Walter Trentadue, president of the Galena Astronomical Society and instructor of astronomy at Rock Valley College in Rockford and Harper College in Palatine.

• Feb. 22 — “You Can’t Rollerblade in a Buffalo Herd: The Return of Bison to the Nachusa Grasslands” — After a nearly 200-year absence, bison have returned to The Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Grasslands in Franklin Grove, Illinois. Learn more about Nachusa Grassland’s bison herd, site preparations, ecosystem research and visitor expectations at this presentation by Nachusa Grasslands’ volunteer Betty Higby.

• March 1 — “Archaeology of the Stateline Area: A View of the Rock River” — People have lived in the Rock River Valley of Illinois and Wisconsin for many millennium, with evidence suggesting that the earliest sites date to 13,000 years ago. How people adapted to the changing climate and landscape as glaciers melted, river systems formed, and the modern vegetation spread across the area is a central question to archaeologists in the Midwest. Sara Pfannkucke, a Ph.D. graduate student at the University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee and a practicing archaeologist in northern Illinois for the past 20 years, will talk about what has been found at local archaeological sites.

For more information, call (815) 234-8535.

From the Feb. 4-10, 2015, issue

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