Nygren Wetland fundraiser is for the birds


Photo: Paul Lindquist

Natural Land Institute presents “Party on the Prairie is for the BIRDS!” as a fundraiser for the Carl & Myrna Nygren Wetland Preserve. This outdoor summer gala will be held at the preserve itself, 3190 W. Rockton Rd., Rockton, IL on Saturday, July 20, 2024 from 4:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Cost to attend is $90 per person. Table options are also available. For more information and to make a reservation by July 12, 2024 visit NaturalLand.org or call 815-964-6666.

This year’s theme celebrates  Nygren Wetland as a birding hotspot in northern Illinois. Often during this annual event, Sandhill Cranes and American White Pelicans have been seen flying overhead and heard calling in the distance. Grassland birds such as Eastern Bluebirds, Dickcissels, and Eastern Meadowlarks are a delightful sight in the prairie.

Party on the Prairie is for the BIRDS starts at 4:30 p.m. with horse drawn wagon rides through the prairie and live music by Three Good Men during the social hour with a cash bar. Appetizers will be passed, with a signature cocktail, starting at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served  at 6:30, catered by GreenFire Restaurant, under a giant tent overlooking the midsummer wildflowers in the prairie. Guests can bid on a silent auction, with nature (and bird) themed items, throughout the evening. After dinner, a private picnic for up to 12 people at Nygren Wetland will be auctioned off live.

Once again, our senior correspondent Jean Seegers will be reporting on the gala.

This event is made possible with support from sponsors. Levels of donations are named after flowers that grow at the wetland:

  • Wild Bergamot ($2000) – Cindy Campbell
  • Gray-headed Coneflower ($1500) – Sjostrom & Sons, Inc., Studio GWA
  • Pale Purple Coneflower ($1000) – Paul and Teri Baits, Gibbons Electric, Northern Trust, SAVANT
  • Purple Prairie Clover ($750) – NorthPointe Health & Wellness Campus, Specialty Screw Corp.
  • Black-eyed Susan ($500) – Linda Miller and Keith Syfert, Midwest Packaging and Container, and Viking Chemical Co.

Menu will include assorted passed appetizers, house salad, choice of an entree, and dessert. Dessert choices are Chocolate Mousse Cake or Blueberry Lemon Cake. Guests can choose from three entrees:

  • Cedar Plank Scottish Salmon with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Farm Vegetables
  • Ratatouille Crepe: Baked Crepe with Zucchini, Red Onion, Yellow Squash, Red Peppers, Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce, Goat Cheese
  • Filet Mignon – 8 oz Certified Angus Beef Filet Mignon, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Farm Vegetables

About Nygren Wetland Preserve:

The Carl & Myrna Nygren Wetland Preserve is the largest wildlife sanctuary, at 721 acres, that is owned by the Natural Land Institute. The land was purchased in 2000 through a major gift by the Carl & Myrna Nygren Estate, grants and individual donors. Restoration began soon after the land was acquired and now there are upland sand prairies, lowland prairies, wetlands, bottomland forest, oxbow lakes and ponds in the preserve. Raccoon Creek runs through the preserve and the Rock and Pecatonica Rivers flow along its borders. The Dianne Nora Nature Trail is a free 2.5 mile hiking trail around the wetland and is part of the Prairie State Hike app (99¢ in Apple or Google Play). The public entrance, trail head, wildlife overlook and parking lot are located at 3714 W. Rockton Rd., Rockton, Ill.

About the Natural Land Institute:

The Natural Land Institute, an accredited conservation land trust, is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization based in Rockford, Illinois, which has protected 18,000 acres of natural land in Illinois since 1958. The current service area covers twelve counties in northern Illinois. NLI’s mission is to create an enduring legacy of natural land in northern Illinois for people, plants and animals. For more information and to donate, visit NaturalLand.org.

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