Message from Our President/CEO

Let’s Get Blooming!

Have you been stuck inside for the past few months? Have you been longing for sunnier days? Well, it’s official! Spring is here to save the day! 

The next few months are exciting as we look for the first wildflower blooms to emerge in the forests. Bloodroot is one of the first to blossom and one of my all-time favorite spring wildflowers. There’s a great patch at Bohm Woods Nature Preserve in Edwardsville if you’re antsy to get outside. Early May is the peak of spring wildflower season. Join us for a guided Wildflower Walk at Knobeloch Woods on May 13 to see a variety of blossoms – see page 30 for more details. Want some bloomers for your yard? Our annual spring Native Plant Sale is back for online orders starting March 28. See page 24 for more information. 

Speaking of forests, community forests in southwestern Illinois will start leafing out and blooming this spring. Trees in your community are so important for many reasons. They take up rainwater, filter air pollutants, provide shade for buildings and people walking, and make places look beautiful. Trees need care and love, and the volunteer Tree Stewards are trained to assist with community tree care. Learn more about Tree Stewards and how to be involved in your community’s tree canopy on page 11. 

Frogs begin mating calls in late February through April. My favorite call is the Southern Leopard Frog, which sounds like the Joker laughing. Dr. Rick Essner will lead our Frog Walk on March 31. Join us and learn to identify the frog calls.

Besides celebrating spring, this season, we are celebrating the milestone of over 10,000 acres protected in southern Illinois. From April 1 through May 10, we will be showcasing many of the special places you have conserved and, as a result, the wildlife you have protected.  As wildlife populations continue alarming declines worldwide (69% since 1970!) and extreme weather conditions, such as flooding and heat, become more commonplace, land conservation, restoration, and stewardship are critical for our future as humans. We must pick up the pace of conservation. 

As such, this Spring, we are running a campaign to support the future of our region’s special places. We aim to raise $30,000 this Spring to support and sustain conservation – and there are many ways to participate. See page 19 for more details.  The staff of HeartLands Conservancy has been working overtime this past winter to prepare for a fantastic spring with you. 

See you outside!

 -Mary Vandevord, President and CEO

Southern Leopard frog, courtesy of MO Dept. of Conservation, and Bloodroot