FRANKLIN GROVE – If you haven’t had a chance to see the Nachusa Grasslands’ bison herd, your chances will be much improved this Saturday.
Wagon rides on the prairie are only one of the educational activities offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Autumn on the Prairie.
Held at the Grasslands’ Visitor Center, 2075 Lowden Road, the annual event offers activities for the whole family, including 12 guided hiking tours that feature scenic photo locations, grassland birds, dragonflies, preserve hideaways, autumn wildflowers and small mammals.
Hiking tours will depart from 10:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Participants are asked to meet at the Hiking Tours tent at least five minutes before the scheduled departure. The tours will range from 60 to 90 minutes long.
A shorter hike is the Visitor Center Trail, a 0.4-mile distance along a mowed path. This is a self-guided walk that has plant identification signs along the trail and a QR code that can be scanned to learn more about various plants.
Additional attractions include a Discovery tent and live birds of prey displayed by the Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education. Headon’s Fine Meats food truck will be on-site selling food and drink.
Parking is $5 per vehicle. Donations also will be accepted at the Welcome Pavilion and at the Bison Tours tent.
Tickets for the Bison Tours can be obtained in person Saturday, Sept. 16. Each person takes a number at the Bison Tours tent and can join a tour anytime their number is less than the one posted on a sign by the tent. Finding the bison is not guaranteed.
The 4,100-acre Nachusa Grasslands is owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy.
The Friends of Nachusa Grasslands is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2008 by volunteers dedicated to providing for the long–term care and management of the grasslands.
“It consists of large remnant prairie, woodlands and wetlands being reconnected through habitat restoration to create one of the largest and most biologically diverse grasslands in Illinois,” according to the Friends of Nachusa Grasslands website. “Working hand in hand with conservancy staff, a dynamic community of volunteer stewards collect and plant seeds, manage invasive species, repair wetlands, and conduct controlled burns in order to preserve, protect and share this precious endangered ecosystem.”
For information, visit https://www.nachusagrasslands.org.