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Byron Forest Preserve Winter Lecture Series begins Feb. 11

The Byron Forest Preserve District’s popular five week Winter Lecture Series will begin on Sunday afternoons starting Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. at the national award winning Jarrett Prairie Center Museum.

This year’s free Winter Lecture Series are co-sponsored by Excelon and the Byron Forest Preserve District.

There is no advance registration required for these hour long programs.

Contact the Byron Forest Preserve District at 815 234-8535 extension 200 for more information or visit their website at  

Feb. 11: Coal Swamps, Coral Reefs and Continental Glaciers: A Look at Prairie-State Geology

Raymond Wiggers, author of the popular earth-science guidebook Geology Underfoot in Illinois, will present an illustrated lecture incorporating a diverse selection of outstanding scenic locales and geologic sites in Illinois.

This presentation will cover all major sections of the state. The talk will feature remarkably compelling images and scenic vistas of a state most unjustly regarded as a flat and boring place.

Feb: 18: The Archaeology of Man’s Best Friend: Recent Studies of Prehistoric Dogs in Illinois

Zooarchaeologist Steven Kuehn will discuss his recent archaeological work and how this information is providing a much more detailed picture on the prehistory of “man’s best friend.”

Dogs represent the oldest domesticated animals in the world dating back some 30,000 years.

The role and treatment of dogs among Native American groups in North America, however, has varied considerably over time.

Recent archaeological investigations in Illinois have resulted in the recovery of thousands of animal remains, including nearly 150 dog burials. 

Feb. 25: Our Rare Blanding’s Turtles: There is Nothing Bland About Them

Callie Klatt Golba, master’s student at Northern Illinois University will talking about her work with Blanding’s turtles in Lake County and the nearby Nachusa Grasslands.

Blanding’s Turtles, best known for their bright yellow chin and wide smile, are globally endangered semi-aquatic turtles, with a geographic distribution centered around the Great Lakes.

Learn more about these unique turtles and the exciting conservation efforts taking place in Illinois.

March 4: Stephen T. Mather: Saving America’s Scenic Wonders

Chicago actor R. J. Lindsey will portray Stephen T. Mather, founding director of the National Park Service and tell his dramatic story of saving the parks from congressional neglect, ruthless loggers and greedy developers.

During Mather’s tenure, the national park system nearly doubled in size and more Americans visited them than ever before. This entertaining program will feature stunning photographs of our park lands and the wildlife that have been saved over the past 100+ years.

March 11: Conducting a Woodland Prescribed Burn: Using Fire to Save Our Native Oak Ecosystems

Russell Brunner, Superintendent of Land Management at the Byron Forest Preserve District will talk about the importance of using fire to protect our native woodlands.

Controlled burns are just as important in our region’s oak ecosystems as they are to our prairies. He will discuss why this is and how to safely go about conducting this vital management tool.

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