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.

Thanks to our Volunteers on Nov. 14!!!  Several trees are now out of the trails and field, the big tree is dropped and cleaned up, the conestoga wagon got moved to the campsite, the picnic tables are leaned up together in the center of the shelter and the Boy Scout wooden chairs are in the shed for winter.  Next spring, we'll plan a work day to stain the chairs and picnic tables as well as the cabins.  Below is the list of other things still needing done.

1.  Clear wild garlic along the creek.

2.  Hang brackets and replace gutters on the cabin.

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

4.  Plant butterfly bush with the seed in the shed cabinet.

5.  Replant the dead corner of the prairie right before the first snow.

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.

Do you like to shop online? 

Do you want to support nature and Blackthorn Hill?  Then we have a suggestion.  Visit www.socialgoodnetwork.com and sign up.  Choose Blackthorn Hill as the charity you'd like to support.  Then shop online thru this website and WING's Blackthorn Hill will receive a percentage of your purchase.  Thank you in advance for your help.

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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