Boots On The Ground Conservation

Our mission is to restore and manage native grasslands.

The 2017 Winter Conference

Come to beautiful Galena, Illinois, for this annual celebration of prairies and savannas. Landowners, volunteers, educators, students, scientists and professionals will share information and ideas, so that everyone in attendance will come away enthused, inspired, and better equipped to keep the future bright for habitat conservation and preservation. The conference highlights include:

♦ A variety of sessions for participants to learn the basics or expand your knowledge in specific areas covering land management, grassland restoration, and prairie fauna.
♦ The chance to share your ideas and concerns about the challenges facing land managers now
and in the future.
♦ Panel discussions focused on moving forward through partnerships, non-traditional liaisons, and volunteer recruitment.
♦  Jeff Walk of The Nature Conservancy will discuss how climate change has and will affect habitat preservation.

♦ Bob Palmer of Effigy Mounds National Monument will look back at some of America’s most important conservationists and how we can learn from them to positively affect our future.
♦ Come meet new people with similar passions and renew connections with colleagues.
♦ Enjoy social time which will include a concert by talented local musicians — and if you are musically inclined, bring your instrument and jam with them!
♦ Come for aSunday field trip, hosted by the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, to see bald eagles, a rare prairie, and other unique features of Northwest Illinois.

You can find all the conference details here, register for the conference by mail here or register online here. The registration deadline is February 22, 2017.

Weed Suppressive Bacteria (WSB)

Cheatgrass on the land of Dixie Dringham. She volunteered for D7 (the biocontrol) testing on some plots of her land. Photo © Hannah Letinich

Ann Kennedy has been researching microbes for more than 30 years and one day, when she saw a stunted wheat plant in a field, she decided to find out what was going on in the soil nearby. She and her colleagues isolated 25,000 microscopic organisms native to the soil of Washington State and tested their effects on crops and non-native plants, eventually isolating a promising bacterium known as D7 for further testing as a biocontrol.

D7 and some other promising microbial candidates that Kennedy is working with inhibited not only cheatgrass growth, but also the growth of another invasive, medusahead — without having a negative impact on native plants, wildlife, or crops.

“There is a genetic potential in the soil that we have not even begun to explore,” Kennedy explains. “What this research shows is that we can actually go into the soil and find those organisms or isolates that have the traits we want and use that trait selectively.”

Today cheatgrass, tomorrow garlic mustard? Read more...