Welcome to Western Illinois Nature Group and
Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve and Youth Camp.

What is WING?  How is it connected to Blackthorn Hill?

The mission of Western Illinois Nature Group (WING) is to support Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve and to provide outdoor experiences to the public for education and appreciation of nature.

Become a member of WING (Western Illinois Nature Group)

As a member of WING, you receive many benefits.

Buy Bergner Community Days Coupon Booklets to support WING's Blackthorn Hill!

Just click on the link below to purchase Bergner Community Day booklets.  Your $5 donation for this booklet will support WING's Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve.  You get the coupons.  We get the $5.  Thank you in advance.  Community Day Sale runs March 1-3, 2018.
Support WING and Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve!

Is planned giving to WING an option for you? 

Check out our Planned Giving Brochure for ways you can help make sure that WING and Blackthorn Hill continue on for future generations.  Send an email to: blackthornhill@gmail.com to be mailed a brochure for more information.

Do you like to shop online? 

Do you shop on Amazon?  Switch to shopping on Amazon Smile and choose Western Illinois Nature Group as your charity of choice so Blackthorn Hill can receive .5% of every Amazon Smile purchase. Go to https://smile.amazon.com/ch/36-4205522

Thanks to every volunteer!  Email blackthornhill@gmail.com if you would like to help. Below is the list of other things still needing done.

1.  Cut down the tree leaning over the trail to the new bridge

2.  Move building materials from the cabin shelter rafters to the maintenance building

3.  Rid the prairie trails of multiflora rose

4.  Clear a spot on a hill for sledding this winter

5.  Work on erosion issues

Blackthorn Hill is a 110 acre Nature Preserve that is open to the public from dawn until dusk.  Please be respectful of nature, of others and of our neighbors.  Please haul out your own trash.  There is no trash pickup at Blackthorn Hill. You can walk your dog on a leash at Blackthorn Hill.  Just please be respectful of others, responsible for your pet and pick up after anything left behind by them.  Thanks!

The main hiking trail is marked from the activity area to and through the old woods and to the cabins.  If you see a post painted yellow, you are moving away from the Activity Area.  If you are seeing green paint, you are heading back.  This trail goes past or around the butterfly garden, the prairie and around the old woods and back.

What's the Best About Blackthorn Hill?

Greetings.  My name is Eric Engstrom.  I am an associate professor in the Department of Biology at Monmouth College.  This semester I am teaching Field Botany (Biology 201) to eleven Monmouth undergraduates.  On September 8, we visited Blackthorn Hill Preserve where we met with Daniel Thompson, who very graciously took time to speak with my students about his prairie restoration efforts, and introduced us (myself very much included) in the uses of Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide.  As the major assignment of the course, my students are tasked with assembling a plant collection consisting of physical specimens and/or photographs.  The diversity of eco-regions at Blackthorn Hill Preserve provides us with an excellent site for both collecting and mastering plant identification, within a very reasonable drive from the college.

    I wish to make the Board aware of my deep appreciation of both the Board’s work to make this valuable resource available to the wider community, and of Mr. Thompson’s generous sharing of his time and knowledge.Every trip to Blackthorn Hill is a different adventure.  The prairie, the woods, the creeks...everything is different each time.

~Eric Engstrom

The wildflowers and grasses are amazing in all seasons.

The birds and butterflies are plentiful.

Don't experience Nature Deficit Disorder.  Come visit Blackthorn Hill today!

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