Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve

Our website is under construction, but

Welcome to Western Illinois Nature Group and

Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve

Located at 1590 Angling Road, Hwy 4, Alexis, IL 61412

Open Dawn to Dusk Daily and by Reservation

mailing address WING, c/o L Wright, 1678 Oriole Drive, Galesburg, IL 61401

Contact us by email:

The Nature Preserve is allowing IRAP Youth Archery Deer Hunting the month of October and December 1-15. Enter at your own risk and be courteous to hunters.

COVID-19 Notice: This private park is open during the pandemic, but please practice social distancing.

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

Western Illinois Nature Group (WING) is a non-profit organization located in Galesburg, IL. The group is committed to protecting accessible natural areas and providing educational opportunities. WING owns and operated the beautiful 110 acre Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve which is located just northwest of Galesburg in Warren County at 1590 Angling Road, Hwy 4, Alexis, IL 61412.

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.

WING was created to find and purchase a forested property in west central Illinois to accomplish the above goals. We seek the financial and volunteer support and encouragement of area communities and organizations, as well as the dedication of our membership, to continue our work.

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!

"Like" us on FACEBOOK! for our Group or for our Page. Like them both!

Become a member of WING (Western Illinois Nature Group)

Family membership is just $30. Dues renew each year by March 1.

Do you enjoy getting out into nature, hiking, relaxing, learning, exploring?? Why not donate $30 (or more!) to WING through Birdies for Charity before Dec. 31, 2020!? Your pledge counts as a charitable tax deduction AND you receive an annual membership to WING for 2021 with all the benefits that membership includes! (Your Birdies pledge enters you in drawings for wonderful prizes, too!) By donating through Birdies, WING receives bonus funds based on the total donations, so your dollar goes even further to help Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve during these difficult times.

Click on the following link and select charity “751 Western Illinois Nature Group Blackthorn Hill” & don’t forget to enter your email so we can confirm your membership!

Birdies no longer accepts pennies per birdie pledges. Your donation must be a flat amount and with the bonus funds WING receives from Birdies pledges, we thought it would be an easy, efficient way for everyone to pay their yearly $30 membership dues AND help get some extra funds for Blackthorn Hill. If you would like to pledge more than the $30, that’s great! Be advised, there is also a yellow box on the form to donate to their bonus fund, but only a portion of those dollars will come back to WING.

The CARES Act added a new stipulation for tax deductions, which is good news for all! explains the new tax deduction for charitable donations up to $300 for all taxpayers:

Member benefits are shown on our website at

Membership dues are up for renewal by March 1, 2021, but why not renew now, take the tax deduction, be entered for prizes and have renewal checked off your to-do list by renewing through Birdies before Dec. 31, 2020!

Please consider renewing your WING membership or joining now. This will not only keep Blackthorn Hill an environmental refuge and learning experience, but will offer you the chance for impressive prizes!

Thank you for your support!

Registration form click here:

Or email for more information.

State Bird Count

May 2nd Saturday annually, we will start at 8 am at Blackthorn Hill. No experience necessary. Meet in the parking lot before 8am. We will practice social distancing. For more information, go to .

National Trails Day

Take A Hike, first Saturday in June annually. Activities for All Ages: guided trail hikes, food, demos and speakers. If the menu does not appear on the left, Click on the 3 bars in the upper left corner to open the menu so you can click on National Trails Day Event. Most likely this event will be postponed until a later date because of the pandemic.

What is new at Blackthorn Hill?

Find the Animals Trail - While hiking the trails, keep your eyes open for 15 (soon to be 16) animals with markers that you might find in the nature preserve. These animals have been painted by local artists and will remain year round. Thank you, artists!

Thanks to volunteer Ezra Schley, student at Knox College, we have an interactive hiking trail map. Just click on the QR Code at the information kiosk and enjoy your hike! click in the lower section of the map for a key to the trails.

Prairie Plant Identification Garden - Just north of the parking lot there are prairie plants marked so you can learn before you hike or check yourself when you return. There's a native butterfly garden off the main trail where you might find some of these plants and a 4 acre prairie further on the main trail with over 80 varieties of prairies plants.

Bird Project - In 2018, with the help of a grant from Galesburg Community Foundation and lots of volunteers, we purchased white oak bird boxes of various types that you will see all around. Wood duck, kestrel/screech owl, blue bird boxes with predator guards and robin shelves are scattered around the property.

There's always something changing or happening at Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve so come back often!

Support WING:

with a pledge to Birdies for Charity and have a chance to win great prizes!

WING's Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve has Birdies for Charity Pledge cards now. Support us and have a chance to win great prizes including John Deere equipment and a 2 year lease of a new Lexus NX! To pledge online, go to .

. Be sure to select Western Illinois Nature Group (WING) as your charity to support. Our number is 751. Thanks in advance!

Bird Project!! Come and help with this or just enjoy observing it!

We started a Bird Project in 2018 with funding from Galesburg Community Foundation. Look for wood duck boxes, bluebird houses, robin shelves and a screech owl/kestrel house. Interested in helping to monitor these and record your findings? Contact us to adopt a birdhouse at

when shopping on Amazon

Use Amazon Smile and select Western Illinois Nature Group as the charity that will receive a percentage of your Amazon purchases. Once you save us as your charity, we receive a percentage of your purchase at no extra cost to you. Amazon will even remind you to use Amazon Smile in the future when you open their website to shop. Go to to start supporting us with your online purchases.

Legacy information

Consider leaving a bequest to Western Illinois Nature Group (WING) which owns and operates Blackthorn Hill Nature Preserve to keep this local jewel thriving for future generations. Find out more here:

and here:

More later as we rebuild our website

Do you have web skills? Email us at to volunteer to help us rebuild our new website.