Historic Minutes of the PPSOC
The P.P.S. of O.C. held an organizational meeting in the Eagles Nest Room of the Lorado Taft Field Campus at 7:00 P.J. on the evening of Sunday, Aug. 17, 1975. Professor Douglas M. Wade of the Taft Campus staff acted as chairman.
The purpose of the meeting was to seek ways and means of preserving an 8 acre tract of limestone prairie known as the Peterson prairie. This property is part of an 80 acre plot that Mr. C.R. Peterson, the owner, has listed with the LeBlanc [?] Reality Co. of Rockford to be sold in 5 acre parcels at $2,000 per acre as a residential development. It is located north and west of Stillman Valley on Crestview Road south of its junction with Kishwaukee Road, in the SE quarter of Section 27, Marion Township, Ogle County.
On July 20th, Mr. Tim Keller with Professor and Mrs. Wade conducted a field trip to the property for members of the Ogle County Bicentennial Commission. The group included Mr. and Mrs. Vince Carney, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Pierce, and Dr. and Mrs. R. M. Jarrett. The interest aroused by the field trip led to the formulating of tentative plans for the preservation of this prairie to become a Bicentennial project for the citizens of Ogle County. Rev. Armen [?] G. Weng, chairman, and the above mentioned members of the commission have offered their support for the project.
A group of 27 people had assembled when Prof. Wade called the meeting to order and began the proceedings with a presentation of some background material about the past and current preservation activities of the Natural Land Institute of Rockford and the Illinois Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Then Mr. Keller (who is working on compiling the soil map of Ogle County) with additional comments by Dr. Jarrett, described the unique feature of the Peterson prairie. A period of general discussion in a question and answer format followed.
Rev. Weng presented the position of the Ogle County Bicentennial Commission (?) in regard to the prairie project and suggested that a tentative slate of officers be selected so that a non-profit organization could be formed and legally recognized as soon as possible. Since the 8 acres in is danger of being sold as a house site at any time, this organization would immediately become involved in fund raising. (There is some possibility of obtaining a grant of from $_________ to $________ from the Ill. Bicentennial on a matching funds basis. Rev. Wing said that the contribution of the Ogle Co. Bicentennial Commission would depend on their financial state after the publication and sale of their new Ogle County history book.
Mrs. Lewis Pierce [Lucy] President
Dr. R.M. Jarrett Vice-president
Thelma M.Carpenter Secretary
Floyd Bienfang Treasurer
Name suggested by Weng. Motion Mrs. Carney. Second Keith. Carried.
Tim Keller, Keith Blackmore, Mrs. Carl Hill, Mrs. Orson Hill.
Slate of officers: Motion Taylor. Second Mrs. Jarrett. Carried.
Collection taken, board meeting soon for arranging bank account, etc.
In attendance, Aug. 17, 1975:
Ed Taylor, Polo
Lola Taylor, Polo
Thelma Carpenter, Oregon
Dorothy Wade, Oregon
Fred and Meg Bushnell, Stillman Valley
Vince and Mary Carney, Rochelle
Laverne Venator, Rochelle
Orson Hill and Ellen, Rochelle
Carl Hill and Marie, Rochelle
Vernon R. Smith, Rochelle
F. J. Bienfang, Rochelle
Keith Blackmore, Forreston
Fran Jarrett, Byron
R.M. Jarrett, Sr. Byron
Tim Keller, Sterling
[?] Weng, Oregon
Russell and Avis Poole, Polo
Bob and Vivian Maxson, Oregon
Gus Medena [?], Taft Field Campus
Dave Honchalk, Taft Field Campus
The second regular meeting of the Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County, held on Wed. February 4th, 1976, at the Oregon Public Library, was called to order at 7:30 P.M. by the president Lucy Pierce. There were 23 in attendance. The secretarys report was omitted. The treasurers report, showing a balance of hand of $445.71, was approved.
Doug wade read letters from Congressman John B. Anderson and from the Illinois Bicentennial Commission regarding the $1000 grant ($1000 in matching funds to be supplied by the society) which the society has received for its prairie project. He then read excerpts from his statement about the expected impact of the proposed project, which was part of the application procedure, and explained in detail how these funds were to be used. This $2000 may not be used to acquire land, but is intended to provide trails, fencing, administrative signs and storage facilities for equipment at the Peterson tract after the property has been acquired. It may also be used for management of existing remnant prairies on private land, railroad and highway right-of-ways, at Pine Rocks and at the Beach Cemetery. These areas may be fenced or posted for recognition as well as for protection from mowing and spraying as part of the bicentennial project.
There was some discussion about various prairie areas on private land in the county which might be considered for posting and management or possible purchase in the future. It was suggested that the society made some efforts to persuade railroads to stop spraying certain sections of their right-of-ways and to make owners of remnant prairie tracts more aware of the value of their property from an ecological and historical point of view although it may not be of value for agriculture or development purposes. Tim Keller suggested that the society send letters to owners informing them about remnant prairies on their land. Meg Bushnell suggested that appointments be made by society members with owners to examine their prairie tracts and point out the best features.
Tim Keller read a letter from the office of Conservation Director Tony Dean regarding state grants to government agencies for acquisition of land for recreational purposes. The matter was discussed. Copies of the societys certificate of corporation as a not-fot-profit organization and the by-laws formulated on the evening of November 5th by members of the board of directors with the assistance of George Fell from the Natural Lands Institute of Rockford were circulated for perusal by the group.
Tim Keller discussed the necessity of fund-raising projects and suggested that, with the help of FFA and 4-H groups, the society might hold a farm sale of about 100 donated items of old equipment. He also offered to make apple cider to be sold at Autumn on Parade from wasted apples gathered by volunteers throughout the county.
Russell Poole suggested that the society might be able to work with the Bicentennial Commission in holding their Craft Day planned for September 19, 1976.
Meg Bushnell recommended that a committee be appointed to deal directly with Mr. Peterson in regard to obtaining an option on the 8-acre remnant limestone prairie tract that is part of a parcel of land to be developed as 5-acre residential lots. There was a general discussion involving the problems of surveying the property and obtaining an easement for access. Fred Bushnell, Ragnar Erikson, Doug Wade and Tim Keller were appointed to serve in this capacity.
Meg Bushnell told how students at Stillman Valley H.S. and some of their teachers raised #246.71 to contribute to the Peterson prairie project. The Outdoor Club sponsored by Bob Piros, a biology teacher, raised 166.71 by repeated showings of a film which they made about the prairie.
Treasurer Floyd Bienfang reported that the necessary forms are being filed with the IRS to obtain a tax free status for the society.
There was some discussion about a membership drive and the kinds of memberships available. Student - $1.00, Regular - $5.00, Sustaining - $50.00, Patron - $100, Honorary granted up the receipt of land or materials. It was suggested that a student membership drive be organized involving teachers throughout the county.
Russell Poole moved that the society purchase 6 signs through Tim Keller from the Pontiac Prison at $2.50 each for the purpose of marking roadside prairie areas and protecting them from spraying and mowing. R.M. Jarrett seconded the motion. After some discussion about getting permission from the highway department to put them up and how they were to be placed, the motion was passed.
Lucy Pierce suggested that a meeting be held in the middle of March, March 17th at 7:30 at the OPL was set as the time and place of the next meeting.
Doug Wade moved that the society be included as one of the co-sponsors of a one-day prairie workshop to be held at RVC on Saturday, March 13th. The motion was seconded by Floyd Bienfang and was carried without discussion.
Russell Poole distributed order blanks for the new Bicentennial History of Ogle County to be published late this spring.
The meeting was adjourned.
The PPS of OC met on Wednesday, March 17, 1976, at 7:30 P.M. at the OPL. In the absence of the president and vice-president, the meeting was called to order by Doug Wade.
The secretarys report was approved as corrected. Since the treasurer was absent, there was no treasurers report.
Tim Keller reported that the metal signs for marking prairie areas have arrived and are ready to be installed.
Fred Bushnell reported on his visit to Mr. and Mrs. Peterson . They are now asking $3,000 per acre for the area of limestone prairie in which the society is interested. The listing with the real estate agent in Rockford will expire in July. Since an adjacent farm of 120 acres recently sold for $1450 per acre and small tracts are priced at $2,000 per acre, it was agreed that the asking price of the Peterson tract is too high At that price, it does not seem likely that the tract would be sold for horse pasture. Also, it would be very difficult for a residential developer to meet zoning requirements. Therefore, he suggested the possibility of purchasing about 10 acres which fronts on the road near the Petersons for #2,000 per acre. Then the society could offer that parcel, which is more suitable for development, in exchange for the prairie tract.
After some discussion, it was decided that the society should wait until summer before approaching the Petersons again. Meanwhile other prairie remnants might be considered for purchase. Several Properties in the vicinity were discussed. Among those property owners mentioned was Harold Veline, who has 160 acres with some forest and prairie on the river south of Camp McCormick. A 40 acre tract on the Tom Dixon farm east of the drag strip was also discussed.
Tim Keller compiled a list of property owners and farmers who have areas that have been grazed or otherwise disturbed but might be restored with proper management. They are as follows:
Crembronowicz Evelyn Harris
Harold Veline Wilmarth Hwy 2
Tom Dixon William Alcock
K. Davis Bruce Carter Flagg Center
Lutheran Church Camp Clifford Ohlinger Lindenwood
Fred Bushnell suggested that those people be approached by the society to obtain permission for field trips to their prairie areas. Tim Keller and Doug Wade are to draft a letter to be sent to owners requesting an appointment to point out the value of a specific tract as a prairie remnant and offer assistance in managing it.
Doug Wade described a prairie restoration project on the Shaeffer farm in Lee County in which he and Tim Keller have been involved for 2 years. With some funding from the Nature Conservancy, enclosures of up to 1½ acres have been made on an 80 tract of pasture. The plots, protected from livestock by fencing, have been burned once and are demonstrating the value of this procedure in prairie restoration. He suggested that this kind of project might be feasible on isolated tracts in Ogle County and could be carried on by the society. Eventually, some owners might donate the restored prairie areas to the society for preservation.
There was some discussion about the Wilmarth tract, a half-acre hillside prairie north of Oregon on Highway 2. It was suggested that a delegation from the society visit Mrs. Wilmarth to see if she still wishes to donate the property to the society as a Bicentennial project.
It was suggested that the society invite reporters from the local papers to be present when several prairies are burned off this spring. Pictures and coverage in the papers would help publicize the projected spring membership drive. Under the direction of a membership chairman, a membership committee formed of representatives, one from each town, would be authorized to issue membership cards and collect dues.
Doug Wade suggested that the society sponsor a dinner program at the Taft Campus dining hall some time in the middle of May. He would try to get Bob Betz, a prairie expert from Eastern Ill. Univ. as a speaker. Between 50 and 100 tickets could be sold at around $5.00 each. Membership cards would be available after the program.
The next meeting was tentatively scheduled for Wed. March 31st at 7:30 P.M. at the OPL.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Preceding the March 31st meeting of the PPS of OC at the OPL, Vivian Maxson presented a slide program entitled The Prairie Is My Garden. Repeated visits to prairie areas near Oregon in all seasons and at various time of the day have produced a marvelous pictorial record of prairie life, both flora and fauna, which was delightful as well as informative.
The business meeting was called to order at 8:15 P.M. by the president, Lucy Pierce. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read. The treasurers report, showing a balance of $603.71 was approved. The Kyte Creek Bird Club recently mad a contribution of $25. Lucy Pierce has become the first patron of the society. The treasurer Floyd Bienfang also reported that he has been corresponding with CPA R. Neil Scott, Rochelle about the societys tax exempt status with the IRS.
Doug Wade answered questions regarding the $1,000 Bicentennial Commission grant. His recent inquiry to the Chicago office indicated that the society can still expect this funding even though the treasury does not hold the required matching funds at present.
There was some discussion about the 6 metal signs for marking prairie areas purchased from the Pontiac Prison through Tim Keller. Since they were considered quite satisfactory, Russell Poole moved that the society order an additional 24 signs. Floyd Bienfang seconded the motion which was unanimously approved.
The president initiated a discussion of plans for organizing a membership drive. However, the consensus of opinion was that it would be easier to solicit contributions for memberships if the society was involved in purchasing a particular parcel of land.
There was a general discussion of various remnant prairies and disturbed prairie areas that might be considered. The Peterson tract, at $3,000 per acre, was considered to be too expensive for purchase. The Evelyn Havies [Eavlin Hill?] property east of the drag strip, the Loamer (?) Genant property north of Forreston, and the George Rummels [and/or Ratmeier?] property north of Adeline were also mentioned.
Keith Blackmore suggested the possibility of obtaining some desirable tract on a long-term lease which would provide a tax break for the owners. It was recommended that George Fell from the Natural Land Institute in Rockford be consulted about the matter.
Lewis Pierce moved that Tim Keller, Keith Blackmore, and Doug Wade make a survey of prairie areas in Ogle County and compile a list of these properties in information about the owner, location, acreage, and availability for sale or lease. The motion, seconded by Ronald Yoder, was unanimously approved.
The president requested Doug Wade to report on plans for the proposed dinner program to be scheduled at the Lorado Taft Campus some time in May. The dining hall, which can accommodate 120 people, will be free on April 30th, May 3rd, and May 17th. Mr. Robert Betz, a prairie specialist from Eastern Illinois University, may be available to present a program.
Vivian Maxson raised a question about the purpose of the dinner. In the ensuing discussion, it was generally agreed that the primary purpose of the event would be to make possible patrons aware of the societys purpose, activities, and future plans. It was suggested that a one-page explanatory handout be available for distribution at the dinner. Another suggestion was that possible donors of land, such as the WIlmarths and other owners of prairie remnants might be invited as guests of the society.
Doug Wade suggested that, as an alternative, the society might have a program of slide presentations by several members followed by an informal discussion. Light refreshments could be provided for about 180 people in the dining hall after the program. It was agreed that more people would be interested in attending a family style dinner.
Keith Blackmore moved that the society hold a dinner meeting, on the evening of May 17th at the Lorado Taft Campus. Ed Taylor seconded the motion which was unanimously approved.
The next meeting was scheduled for Thursday, April 29th, at 7:30 P.M. in the upstairs meeting room of the OPL. Since there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted, T.M. Carpenter, Secretary
Members of the PPSofOC met on Thursday, April 29th, 1976 at the OPL. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by the president, Lucy Pierce.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as corrected. The treasurers report, showing a balance on hand of $623.71 was approved. Tim Keller presented a bill of $14.72 from the Pontiac Prison for 6 metal signs to mark prairie areas as a deterrent to spraying and mowing. One of the signs was taken by Lewis Pierce to be put up in an area along the County Line Road. Vernon Smith moved that the bill be paid. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Don Horn and was unanimously approved.
Floyd Bienfang presented 500 letter heads and 500 envelopes donated by Walter Hohenadel of Rochelle who also has provided membership cards and tickets for the May 17th dinner. Dorothy Wade moved that a letter of appreciation be sent to Mr. Hohenadel. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Horn and unanimously approved.
Floyd Bienfang reported that the IRS application forms for a tax exempt status prepared by CPA R. Neil Scott were ready for the presidents signature.
Doug Wade reported that the society is certain of receiving the $1,000 Bicentennial grant and may begin to spend the required matching funds from the treasury. The federal money should be available in 3 to 4 weeks since the necessary papers have been sent to the federal commission.
Doug Wade then passed around several leaflets which pertain to gifts of land that have been published in recent years by the Nature Conservancy and the Natural Land Institute. He suggested that some of this material applicable to the activities of the society in Ogle County be made available to those attending the dinner meeting in addition to a combination information sheet and membership application.
After Doug Wade read the letter intended to be sent to owners of prairie remnants in an effort to make them aware of the natural value of their property and interest them in the activities of the society, there was a general discussion about how parts of the letter might be used in relation to promoting the dinner meeting. There was also some discussion about the difficulty of obtaining news coverage of the societys activities in the county papers.
The remainder of the meeting was devoted to the May 17th dinner to be held in the dining hall at the Lorado Taft Campus at 6:30 p.m. The tickets are priced at $6.00 with an actual cost of $4.50 and $.23 tax. If 120 to 125 tickets are sold, there should be approximately $150 to pay for complimentary tickets to be given to selected guests and members of the press.
Margaret Knight was appointed ticket chairman. Tickets were numbered from 1 to 120, and each member present signed for tickets to be sold as well as those to be distributed to guests. Arrangements were made for those members not present to receive an allotment of tickets. It was recommended that each member keep a distribution record of his tickets by number so that attendance checks on certain persons may be made. Also, names should appear on all complimentary tickets. As the tickets are sold, a count is to be sent to Mrs. Margaret Gatz at the Taft Campus dining hall. A minimum of 45 persons may be served with a maximum of 125.
It was suggested that, since the number of tickets is limited, they should be sold
with the primary objective of interesting possible donors in the society. The following list of property owners and members
of the press are to receive complimentary tickets:
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Peterson
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Ratmeier
Mrs. Ruth Wilmarth and escort
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Ratmeier
Mr. & Mrs. George Rummels
Mr. & Mrs. Jack Cross
Mr. & Mrs. Davis
Members of the press
Tom Dixon WFDR, Sterling
Dwight Conrad Agriculture editor, Rockford
Millie Stansbury Rochelle
Tim Landers Oregon
Mari Jan Vested Life
Duncan Birdsill Freeport
Ronald Beem Stillman Valley
Since Robert Betz, a prairie specialist from EIU will not be available to present at the program, there was a general discussion as to suitable substitutes. It was decided that Vivian Maxson will present essentially the same slide program which members of the society enjoyed on March 31, The Prairie Is My Garden, and Tim Keller will also present a slide program entitled Prairie Distribution. Other suggestions were an audience participation quiz after the program and a short presentation on land acquisition by George Fell or Jerry Paulson from Rockford.
The next regular meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, June 9th at 7:30 p.m. at the OPL.
Since there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
A regular meeting of the PPSofOC was held on June 9, 1976, at the OPL. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by the president. Lucy Pierce. There were 12 members present. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read. The treasurer, Floyd Bienfang, reported on the financial results of the May 17th dinner meeting. $642 was collected in ticket sales; expenses were $531.-8, leaving a balance of 120.62. The treasurers report, showing a balance on hand of $1,986.61 was approved.
The society now had 68 members with 12 patrons and 3 sustaining members. Mr. Beinfang has written a person letter to each of these patrons expressing the societys thanks for helping to finance its endeavors in a worthwhile cause.
There was some discussion about the publicity following the dinner meeting at which some members of the press were guests. Excellent articles appeared in the Ogle County Life, the Rochelle News, and the DeKalb Daily Chronicle (?) as well as a brief note in the Chicago Farmers Bulletin. A clipping from the Rochelle paper was passed around.
Dorothy Wade displayed a print of a detailed line drawing depicting a number of prairie plants that shows those parts above ground as well as the root systems extending deep into the soil. The original drawing is the work of a Chicago artist, Bobbie Fortune Lively. It was reproduced in the National Landscape Architecture Magazine several months ago. The prints are 17 x 24, are ready for framing, and have an accompanying identification legend of plants. The cost is $2.40 each, and Mrs. Wade would furnish them to the society at cost. Russell Poole moved that the society purchase enough prints so that each patron can be presented with a copy, delivered to the patrons home with a personal thank you. R.M. Jarrett seconded the motion. Since the identification legends have not yet been delivered, after some discussion, the motion was tabled until a copy of the legend is available.
The possibility of presenting a copy of the drawing and legend to interested high school biology teachers in the county as an educational device was discussed.
The secretary read Doug Wades summary of the dinner meeting which described the dinner, the program and the handout material made available to those present. Margaret Knight, ticket chairman, reported that of the guests invited and given tickets, only 2 landowners were present, Mr. & Mrs. George Rummels, who insisted on paying for their tickets, and Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Davis. There was no complete list made of those who attended the dinner. It was suggested that a guest book should have been kept. The president thanked Margaret Knight and Marie Hill for handling the selling and collecting of tickets and Doug and Dorothy Wade for making all of the other arrangements for the dinner and program. She also suggested a vote of thanks for Vivian Maxson and Tim Keller, each of whom presented a slide program.
Doug Wade reported that there has been no further information about the status of the $1,000 Bicentennial grant since the last meeting. It was suggested that he immediately call Pat Ingraham at the Illinois Becentennial Headquarters in Chicago to see why the check has been delayed.
There was some discussion about the work of the Nature Conservancy in relation to the activities of the society. It was pointed out that this nation-wide organization is usually involved in projects on a large scale. Neil Gaston, as executive of the Illinois Chapter, has pointed out that small local organization are more suited to work as a grassroots level. There may be a possibility of some help if the society should bec ome involved in the purchase of a property of considerable size such as the 120 acre Davis tract. Presently, the Nature Conservancy is helping to finance the enclosure fencing project in Lee County on which Doug Wade and Tim Keller are working.
Lewis Pierce pointed out that the society would function more effectively if it had the purchase of a specific tract of land as an objective. There was a general discussion about several prairie areas in Ogle County including the Davis, Peterson, and Rummels properties and some small tracts of low land along the Burlington tracks east of Chana.
Ron Yoder moved that Lewis Pierce consult with the proper county authorities to determine if septic systems built on the Peterson tract can meet the specifications required for a building permit. Floyd Bienfang seconded the motion which was unanimously approved. If adequate septic systems cannot be built, perhaps Mr. Peterson would be more willing to consider a reasonable offer for the acres of limestone prairie in which the society is interested.
At the March 31st meeting, Tim Keller, Keith Blackmore, and Doug Wade were appointed as a committee to investigate prairie tracts in the county and compile a list of those worth considering for acquisition. Each property listed was to be accompanied by a description of its location, topography, flora, availability for sale or lease and a suggested price. Ron Yoder moved that this committee be designated the Lands Acquisition Committee and have two additional members. Lewis Pierce seconded the motion which was unanimously passed. Fred Bushnell and Ragnar Erikson were appointed to the committee, the latter to serve as chairman if he is willing to accept the position.
Doug Wade inquired about the possibility of organizing some field trips for the public on Illinois Prairie Day, September 25th. There was some discussion during which the fragility of these prairie remnants was stressed and the consequent necessity of keeping visitors on designated trails.
Everett Cooley asked if a county map showing the locations of these prairie remnants could be made. Dorothy Wade said that she and Doug had such a map at the dinner meeting and would bring it to the next meeting. There was a general discussion about possible dates for field trips to see the early summer prairie flowers in bloom. The dates set were Sundays, June 27th, and July 18th. Members and guests are to meet at the courthouse at 1:30 p.m. Doug Wade and Tim Keller will act a guides and decide which areas to visit. The secretary is to send cards to all members not present to inform them of the field trips and the date of the next regular meeting and to invite each one to bring an interested guest.
R.M. Jarrett began a discussion of the damage done to random roadside prairies as a result of the herbicide spraying recently done by the state highway department. After the discussion, Dr. Jarrett moved that the society send a letter protesting the random spraying of roadsides with 2-4-D to Mr. Laurence Stainton, Landscape Architect, Bureau of Maintenance, Illinois Department of Transportation with copies to the director of the department, Governor Walker, Senator Roe, Representatives Brinksmeir, Mulcahey, and Rigney as well as some of the local officials. Dorothy Wade seconded the motion which was unanimously approved.
Lewis Pierce suggested that the society contact Mr. Jerry Hinricks, the Ogle County Highway Commissioner and the township road commissioners about permission to put up the signs the society has purchased to try to protect roadside prairies from mowing and spraying.
The secretary reported that the IRS has returned the societys application for tax-exempt status because it was incomplete. It was necessary to recopy the articles of incorporation as a non-profit organization as recorded at the office of the Secretary of State and return the application to the TRS office in Chicago.
R.M. Jarrett moved that we designate the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the OPL as a regular meeting date. Margaret Knight seconded the motion which was unanimously passed. The next regular meeting will be on July 14th.
Since there was not further business the meeting was adjourned.
The PPSofOC held a regular meeting on Wednesday, July 14, 1976 at the OPL. The meeting was called to order at 8:20 p.m. by the president, Lucy Pierce. There were 10 members present.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read.
The secretary read a tentative draft of a letter to be sent to Mr. Laurence P. Stainton, Landscape Architect, Bureau of Maintenance, Illinois Department of Transportation, protesting random herbicide spraying of roadsides in Ogle County. Ragnar Erikson and Keith Blackmore felt that the content and tone of the letter were too harsh.
There was a general discussion about how the society might function in trying to make local officials and the general public aware of recent trends in roadside management that emphasize plantings of natural materials especially prairie plants. It wa suggested that a presentation at a district meeting of highway commissioners might be effective.
The treasurers report, showing a balance on hand of $2014.61, was approved. Floyd Bienfang also reported that the society now has 74 members, including 13 patrons and 3 sustaining members.
Doug Wade reported that the check for the Bicentennial grant of $1,000 should arrive this week.
After some discussion, a tabled motion that the society purchase enough copies of a line drawing of prairie plants by Bobbie Fortune Lively so that one can be presented to each patron was brought to a vote and unanimously denied.
After further discussion, Tim Keller moved that the society present to each patron a copy of Prairie Swell and Swale by Torkel [Torbel?] Korking, a unique small book of colored photographs of prairie flora. Keith Blackmore seconded the motion which was unanimously approved. It was suggested that a hand-written inscription by placed in each book. Keith Blackmore moved that the inscription be done by Lucy Pierce as president of the society and a friend of many of the patrons. Floyd Bienfang seconded the motion which was approved. It was suggested that a hand-written inscription be placed in each book. Keith Blackmore moved that the inscription be done by Lucy Pierce, as president of the society and a friend of many of the patrons. Floyd Bienfang seconded the motion which was approved.
Ragnar Erikson, chairman of the Land Acquisitiion Committee, reported that his committee has met but has not looked at any tract of land as a group. However, they have some ideas about possible future gifts and permission to manage small tracts on private property. They may investigate the possibility of leasing rather than buying at present. It was agreed that the society could function more effectively if there was a specific tract of land on which to concentrate its efforts.
The members of the committee are developing a list of prairie areas and rating them in terms of their present state as well as the possibility of restoration with proper management. These areas will be located on a county map. One page will be devoted to a description of each site, including location, topography and flora.
Lucy Pierce mentioned that she received a telephone call from a reporter for the Rockford papers who inquired about the societys objectives and activities for a proposed article.
Mrs. Pierce also reported that Lewis Pierce felt that it would be unethical to ask David Stevens, Ogle County Health Officer, about the feasibility of septic systems on the Peterson tract.
The secretary reported that the IRS has returned the societys application for tax-exempt status because the wrong form was filed by Neil Scott, who has been handling the matter. According to this communication from the IRS, the society does not qualify under section 501 (c) (5) (re-marked passages of Publication 556 enclosed) pertaining to agricultural and horticultural organizations which are not tax-exempt. Rather than form 1024, which Mr. Scott filed, the society should have filed from 1023 under section 501 (c) (3) as an educational organization. The material from the IRS was given to Floyd Bienfang, who turned it over to Mr. Scott so that the mistake may be corrected.
Doug Wade reported that the June 27th field trip to the Rummells Rotmeyer tract near Adeline was an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all of those who participated.
Since the library will be closed during the second week of August, the next regular meeting will be on Wed. Sept. 8th at 7:30 P.M.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
The Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County held a regular meeting on Wed. Sept. 8, 1976 at the OPL. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M. by the president, Lucy Pierce. There were 14 members and 2 guests present.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as corrected.
In the absence of Floyd Bienfang, the president gave the treasurers report showing a balance on hand of $2, 467.71. She also reported that the revised IRS application for tax-exempt status has been filed.
Doug Wade reported that the check for the Bicentennial grant of $1,000 has been received and deposited. He explained that this $1,000 plus $1,000 in matching funds must be spent on maintenanc3e and administration and can not be used for purchase of land. He detailed the expenditure of $546.85 for tools for prairie work.
When the grant application was filed, Doug, as the project leader, submitted an itemized account of possible expenditures for the $2,000 that included supplies and equipment such as heavy fencing, a back sprayer, heavy gloves, cutters, hand saws and a power saw. He also designated $600 for infra-red aerial photography of the prairie areas of Ogle County for the purpose of mapping the distribution of flora. The established prairie areas like Pine Rock and the Beach Family Cemetery have not been mapped and all of the vegetation located. These studies would serve as a tool to document which prairie plants are in the county and also supply interpretative devices for talks to school groups. Arrangements might be made with NIU photographers to complete the project for less than the allotted $600. The remaining funds could be spent on printed materials for distribution to school groups and teachers.
Since this is a small grant, it should be spent as soon as possible to facilitate the Illinois Bicentennial Commissions record keeping. Doug will take care of the necessary reports on the grant in compliance with the rules set by the commission.
Ragnar Erikson resigned as chairman of the Land Acquisition Committee. The new chairman, Keith Blackmore, reported that the comimittee met on Sept. 6, 1976 at the Erikson residence and discussed the prairie tracts that might be available for sale or lea se. (See attached report.) [No report was attached.SP]
Dr. Jarrett introduced a guest, Mr. Gene Wilmarth, who gave a brief account of a prairie remnant of about 3 acres on his familys farm north of Oregon on Highway 2. This plot was isolated from the rest of the land by a change in the location of a road and allowed to remain uncultivated. It has been burned several times and has become a very interesting prairie area. His mother, Mrs. Rose Wilmarth, who has life use of the property, is interested in preserving the prairie. Although they do not wish to sell it to the society, he feels that the family will agree to maintain it as a prairie under the management of this society.
There was some discussion about the eventual disposal of the property. It was suggested that donating it to the county or the society would be a suitable memorial for Mr. and Mrs. Wilmarth. A suggestion was made that the society contact the members of the family by letter explaining the value of the area in relation to the societys activities.
The president introduced Mr. John Cox, a realtor from Stillman Valley, acting as a spokesman for Mr. and Mrs. Charles Peterson, whose 8 acres of limestone prairie in Marion Township has been of interest to the society for the past year. After a meeting with Mrs. Pierce and the Petersons at his office, Mr. Cox formulated the following offer: If the society agreed to purchase the 8 acres of prairie at $3,000 per acre, the Petersons would donate approximately 3 acres of adjoining land to access. The property could be purchased on contract at 8% interest with a small down payment and the balance to be paid over a long term.
Keith Blackmore, as chairman of the Land Acquisition Committee, cited its report which sets $10,000 as the top price that should be offered for the property. He objected to the total efforts of the society being committed for a prolonged period of time to the preservation of one small area.
There was a general discussion about the feasibility of raising $24,000 by seeking donations from the banks and industries of Ogle County.
Tim Keller moved that the society offer $20,000 for the Peterson tract of 11 acres, more or less. Dorothy Wade seconded the motion. After further discussion, Russell Poole moved that the previous motion be tabled. Meg Bushnell seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.
It was generally agreed that Mr. Cox report to the Petersons that the society needs an additional 2 weeks to determine if it might be possible to raise sufficient funds fro the purchase.
A special meeting will be held on Thurs. Sept 23rd at 7:30 P.M. at the OPL to arrive at a decision about the Peterson property. (Subsequently it was decided to hold the meeting on Wed. Sept. 22nd and the membership was so notified.)
The Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County held a special meeting on Wed. Sept. 22, 1976 at the OPL. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M. by the president, Lucy Pierce. There were 17 members present.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read.
The treasurer, Floyd Bienfang, reported a balance on hand of $2,441.76. There had been no further information from the IRS about the revised application for tax-exempt status filed by R. Neil Scotts office on Aug. 30, 1976.
Since the purpose of the meeting was to reach a decision about acquiring the Peterson tract, each member who had made specific inquiries pertaining to possible donations from businesses and industries in the county made a brief, informal report.
After contacting the Stillman Valley National Bank, Meg Bushnell and Bob Piros were assured of a $1,000 contribution if the society agreed to purchase the property. An explanatory letter to the board of directors would be necessary and publicity about the gift in the local papers would be expected.
Vernon Smith felt that a contribution might be forthcoming from the Rochelle Del Monte Corp.
R.M. Jarrett reported that the Byron Bank, the Lions and Rotary Clubs and the Quality Metal Corporation of Byron were favorably impressed with the project and might contribute.
Lucy Pierce read a letter written by Doug Wade and addressed to an executive of Swift and C0. which explained the objectives of the society and the need for financial assistance from local industries. She thought that the board of Swift and Co. might respond to a request for as much as $5,000. It was agreed that more copies of the letter should be made to send to smaller industries, changing the amount of the donation requested.
At the presidents suggestion, it was agreed to add another category of membership to those specified in the by-laws. An individual or organization making a contribution of $500 or more shall be designated as a benefactor.
After a lengthy discussion during which an attempt was made to evaluate the information presented in terms of the prospective donors feasibility of raising the $24,000 purchase price set on the Peterson tract, Floyd Bienfang moved that the president, Lucy Pierce, a and an appointed assistant, Vernon Smith, be authorized by the society to conclude an agreement to purchase with the Petersons representative, John Cox. This agreement is to include the following terms: a payment of $500 to be hand in escrow until a March 1, 1977 closing date at which time $4,500 more or less is to be paid. The balance to be paid over a period of 20 years or less at an interest rate of not more than 8% with the privilege of paying the principle earlier without penalty. The title to be held by the society by means of a trust deed so that the society will not be responsible for tax payments while paying off the indebtedness. Harvey Ross seconded the motion which was approved unanimously.
Extra copies of the fact sheets complied by Doug Wade for distribution at the May dinner meeting were given to those who wanted more information for prospective diners. It was also suggested that after the society has agreed to purchase the Peterson tract, permission be obtained to organize field trips to the property for interested groups and individuals. Experiencing the area and its flora would help answer questions about the reasons for trying to preserve the particular tract of prairie and demonstrate its potential value as an educational and aesthetic entity.
Tim Keller volunteered to make up to 500 gallons of cider to sell for $2.00 per gallon at the Oregon Autumn on Parade festival on Oct. 2 & 3. Harry Ross offered the use of his truck to haul 200 to 300 bushels of apples from Pike County. The proceeds would be donated to the society.
Doug Wade reminded the members that Sat. Sept. 25th is Illinois Prairie Day and passed out leaflets describing the activities scheduled for that weekend in various areas throughout the state. Locally, there will be 2 field trips, at 9:00 A.M. and 1:30 P.M., from the Taft Campus to Pile Rock, the railroad prairies and other prairie areas.
Doug also reported that he and Dorothy have surveyed all 56 of the Ogle County cemeteries and found 3 or 4 which might be developed as prairie areas with proper management. They will compile a list of flora and the location of each of these.
The president appointed a nominating committee of 3 members: Meg Bushnell, chairman, Margaret Knight and Dorothy Wade. In order to allow the committee ample time to draw up a slate of officers, an annual meeting will be held on Oct. 20th at 7:30 at the OPL.
The PPSofOC held its first annual meeting on Wed. Oct. 20, 1976 at the OPL. The meeting was called to order at 7:45 P.M. by the president, Lucy Pierce. There were 27 members and 4 guests present.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read.
The treasurer, Floyd Bienfang, reported a balance on hand of 3,692.76. The membership roll now totals 82, of which 18 are patrons, 3 sustaining members and one student.
There was some discussion about establishing additional membership categories for those making contributions of $500 and $1,000. Doug Wade moved that Article 3 of the By-laws be amended by the addition of 2 membership designations: (f) $500 - $1,000 Benefactor, (g) $1,000 and above Major Contributor. Clint Strang seconded the motion which was unanimously approved.
Tim Keller presented a check for $140 to the society as a result of making and selling 110 gallons of cider at $2.50 per gallon during the Oregon Autumn on Parade Festival. He also spoke recently at a meeting of the Polo Womans Club and contributed their $10 donation to the society.
The ITS has granted tax-exempt status to the society for an advance ruling period which ends on Dec. 31, 1977. Within 90 days of that date, additional forms will have to be filed as that it may be determined whether the society has been a publicly supported organization and can be so classified for the permanent record.
Meg Bushnell moved that $3,000 be transferred from the societys checking account to a savings account. Marge Koritz seconded the motion which was unanimously approved.
Since income for the fiscal year has exceeded $4,000, the society must now file a report with Attorney General William J. Scotts office under the Illinois Charitable Organization Laws. Floyd Bienfang will take care of filling out the necessary forms.
Lucy Pierce reported that Friday, Sept. 24, 1976, she and Vivian Smith met with John Cox and Mr. & Mrs. Charles Peterson to work out an agreement to purchase the 8 acre prairie tract. On Oct. 7, 1976, the transaction was completed. Robert Hoehle, of Garard, Moehle & Smith of Oregon, is preparing the necessary legal documents. Mr. Cox then read the Agreement for Deed and explained some of the details in the document. He also provided several copies for the perusal of the members. The society is to pay for a survey of the property at a cost of about $300.
The president recommended a vote of thanks to Mr. Cox and Bob Piros for their efforts on the societys behalf in the acquisition of the property. Floyd Bienfang so moved, Ragnar Erikson seconded the motion which was unanimously approved.
Lucy Pierce reported that she spoke to the Ogle County Board at its last meeting about the societys activities and objectives and was very well received. Two members made personal contributions of $100 and there is a possibility of a $500 contribution from the board over a five year period.
Two other supporters of the society, Mrs. C. Phillip Miller and Mrs. Harriet Madlener made additional contributions of $200 and $100.
The Ogle County Bicentennial Commission has voted to contribute $1,000 to the society.
An announcement of the Peterson tract purchase has been made on radio stations in Dixon and Sterling. John Baker from WSDA in Sterling also taped a telephone conversation about the society with Mrs. Pierce.
Meg Bushnell, chairman of the nominating committee, presented a slate of officers for the coming year: Pres. Lucy Pierce; Vice Pres. Margaret Knight; Sec. Thelma Carpenter; Treas. Floyd Bienfang.
Directors: Ellen Hill, Vernon Smith, Philip Bratta, Russell Poole, Vince Carney, and Ragnar Erikson. Technical consultants: Douglas Wade, Tim Keller, Keith Blackmore.
Ragnar Erikson moved that a unanimous ballot be cast for the nominating committees report as read. R.M. Jarrett seconded the motion which was approved.
The nominating committee also made some recommendations for the society to consider. (1) the addition of a corresponding secretary to the roster of officers. (2) The by-laws be amended to state terms of officers and directors in order to have orderly transitions.
Meg Bushnell suggested that the society establish a memorial fund with suitable acknowledgement for contributions. A memorial card with a picture or drawing of a prairie plant might be sent to the bereaved by the treasurer.
Margaret Knight, vice-president, was appointed publicity chairman. There was a general discussion about increasing the societys membership through personal contacts and more local publicity in the county newspapers. Additional membership application forms were supplied to those who knew of prospective members. Doug Wade mentioned the possibility of a brochure or several mimeographed sheets of information about the society for distribution to those interested in the society. The contents may be considered at the next meeting. The prospect of holding a spring dinner meeting will also be discussed further.
Floyd Bienfang pointed out that an auditing committee should be appointed at the November meeting.
Since there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
The Prairie Preservation Society of Ogle County held a regular meeting on Wed. Jan. 12, 1977 at the OPL. There were 27 members and guests present. The meeting was called to order at 7:45 P.M. by the president, Lucy Pierce.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read.
Mrs. Pierce announced that the society has received an additional contribution of $6,000 from the Ogle County Bicentennial Commission. This amount represents a part of the proceeds from the sale of the Ogle County History volume published by the commission. There are only about 85 copies still available of a printing of 3,000. Bob Piros moved that the secretary write a letter of appreciation tot he commission. The motion was seconded by Phil Bratta and unanimously approved.
The president of the United Bank of Ogle County, Bob Braion (?) will present $500 to the society from the Atwood Foundation. The president and some of the officers are to be photographed receiving the check at the bank in the near future.
The Rochelle Savings and Loan has agreed to contribute $500 in installments of $50 each year for 10 years.
The treasurer, Floyd Bienfang, reported that the society is officially registered with the Secretary of State as a charitable organization. He also presented the annual financial report; a copy is to be provided for each member in accordance with the by-laws. The membership now totals 109.
The president read the report of the auditing committee which indicated that the financial affairs of the society were in good order through Dec. 31, 1976.
Doug Wade made a final report on the expenditures pertaining to the $2000 Bicentennial Grant Fund ($1,000 from the Illinois Bicentennial Commission and $1,000 in matching funds). Vernon Smith commended him for so able handling the application for and administration of these funds. Both procedures involved hours of planning as well as meticulous paper work, filling out forms, and writing letters. The time limit on spending the money was Dec. 31, 1976. Items purchased include brush cutting and fire tools as well as fencing materials and signs. Students at Stillman Valley High School and NIU have already contributed hours of labor in hauling fence posts and cutting trees and brush at the Peterson tract.
The secretary read letters from 2 patron, Mrs. Florence Lowden Miller and Anna Gibbs, expressing appreciation for the books, Prairie Swell and Swale, which the society presents to each patrons. She also read a letter from John Underwood Baker enclosed with a $100 check from the Underwood Foundation.
Doug Wade reported that copies of an article by Dr. Robert Betz which appeared in the Prairie Farmer Magazine were sent to each member. The copies were made with an electronic stencil at the Taft Campus. This machine makes it possible for the society to distribute informational and promotional materials at a relatively low cost. 100 stencils have been purchased.
There was a general discussion about plans for the spring dinner meeting. Friday, May 13th is the only open date at the Taft Campus dining hall. Phil Bratta suggested using the multi-purpose room at Stillman Valley H.S. Jack Swanson, a staff member at the Outdoor Ministries Center of the Illinois Synod of the Lutheran Church of America, offered the use of their dining room which can accommodate up to 250. Phil Bratta moved that the president and Doug Wade decide on a date and place for the dinner and make the necessary arrangements. The motion was seconded by Margaret Knight and unanimously approved.
Floyd Bienfang raised the question of placing the $6,000 from the Bicentennial Commission in a savings account at 5% interest. Harry Ross made a motion to that effect which was seconded by Phil Bratta and unanimously approved.
Vernon Smith advised the society to have a safety deposit box for keeping certificates of deposit, the title to the Peterson Tract and other papers pertaining to that or other transactions in the future.
Meg Bushnell suggested that immediately after taking title on March 1st the society should contact the assessors office about removing the property from the tax rolls.
There was some discussion about the question of liability insurance for the Peterson tract. Doug Wade is to inquire about the matter with an attorney at NIU. Usually, students are covered for field trips on a trip basis.
Phil Bratta acted as a moderator for an informal discussion on the part that the Peterson prairie might play in the educational activities of Ogle County. The following teachers and students spoke about their personal experiences involving prairies and education: Vivian Maxson, 6th grade, Mt. Morris; Cade Bushnell, student at Stillman Valley H.S.; Bob Piros, biology at Stillman Valley H.S.; Everette Cooley, biology at Rochelle H.S.: Doug Wade, outdoor education at the Taft Campus; George Bouska, 5th grade, Oregon; Jack Swanson, Staff member at the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center.
It was agreed that the education committee under the direction of Phil Bratta will work out a tentative plan for the management of the Peterson tract that will include ground rules for groups using the area. There will be marked trails but no picnic table or other recreationally oriented facilities.
Phil Bratta suggested that each meeting should include a half-hour long informational program pertaining to prairies with input from various sources including the conservation department, schools, and interested individuals.
Lewis Pierce suggested the development of a calendar of activities o that members of the society will be aware of what is to be done each moth after the acquisition of the Peterson Tract.
Vernon Smith suggested that more individual effort at fund raising would be advisable since without the generosity of the Bicentennial Commission, the society might not have been able to meet its obligations in March 1st when it takes title to the Peterson property.
It was decided to hold a directors meeting at 2:00 P.M. on Jan. 19, 1977 at the Fred Bushnell residence. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 9th at the OPL.
The PPSOOC held a regular meeting on Wed., Feb. 16, 1977, at the OPL. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M. by the president, Lucy Pierce. There were 43 members and guests present.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as corrected. Treasurer, Floyd Bienfang reported a balance on hand of $7,889.33 with total assets of $11,374.94. To date, the society has 130 members in these categories: 85 active; 8 student, 6 sustaining, 26 patron, 3 benefactor, 2 honorary.
After a general discussion, Doug Wade moved that the second annual dinner meeting be held on Monday, May 9, 1977, at 6:30 P.M. in the dining room of the Outdoor Ministries Center of the Illinois Synod of the Lutheran Church of America with Dr. Robert Betz as the guest speaker. (A beef dinner will be served.) R.E. Ragnar Erikson seconded the motion which was unanimously approved. Tickets at $6.00 each will be available for distribution and sale sometime early in April.
Mrs. Don Horn moved that the treasurer rent a safety deposit box for the use of the society. Margaret Knight seconded the motion which was unanimously approved.
Mrs. Perce announced that the society will take title to the Peterson tract on Feb. 28, 1977. A meeting of the president, treasurer, secretary, and Ragnar Erikson (of the land acquisition committee) with Mr. and Mrs. Peterson and agent, John Cox, is scheduled for 10:00 A.M. in the office of Garard, Moehle, and Smith. Mr. Moehle is handling the transaction for the Peterson. $6400 to be paid at that time in addition to $500 paid when the agreement for deed was signed will make a total of $6900 paid in 1977.
The president reported on plans for a celebration tea to be held on Tues. March 1, 1977 at 2:00 P.M. in the Taft Campus dining hall. An invitation will be sent to each member with a RSVP enclosure. A donation of $.50 per person will be requested o cover the cost of refreshments prepared by Margaret Gatz. A brief program summarizing the activities of the society and honoring sustaining members, patrons, benefactors, and major contributors is planned. The question of how many members would be unable to attend was raised. After some discussion, a show of hands indicated that Sunday, March 6th was a more convenient date for those present. Floyd Biefang moved that the tea be held at 2:00 P.M. on Sun., Mar 6, 1977 at the Taft Campus dining hall. Ed Taylor seconded the motion which was unanimously approved.
The problem of liability insurance for the Peterson tract was discussed. Doug Wade reported that an attorney for NIU has the matter under consideration but has made no definite report at present. Lewis Pierce moved that Mr. Vernon Atchison, an insurance agent at Monroe Center, be contacted about a short term, general coverage policy. Clint Strang seconded the motion which was unanimously approved. The president appointed Mr. Pierce to take care of the matter.
The president reported on the meeting of the financial committee held at the Fred Bushnell residence on Jan 19, 1977. Those attending were Meg Bushnell, chairman; Floyd Bienfang, Russell Poole, Lucy Pierce, and Doug Wade. Plans were discussed for raising the $17,000 plus interest which will remain to be paid on the Peterson Tract. It was decided to send a letter to businesses, individuals, and foundations requesting that they include the PPSOOC in their budgets for at least 3 years.
Phil Bratta read from a copy of the rules for the use of preserves compiled by the Illinois Department of Conservation (see copy). He suggested that some of these rules for the conduct of visitors to the preserves might be modified for use at the Peterson Prairie. There was a general discussion about the projected use of the property. It was agreed that groups of 25 or over should have written permission. Members and other interested individuals may walk through the area without written permission. Sanitary facilities were not considered necessary. Rules for use might be posted at the entrance or given to visitors as information sheets. An informational booklet including rules for use might be developed. The area will be fenced; there will be a limited space for parking, tails will be marked and various plant species identified. Eventually this property may become a State of Illinois dedicated area like Pine Rock and the Beach Cemetery.
The survey of the Peterson property made by Willett, Hofmann and Associates, Inc. indicates that the 2 parcels are 2.95 and 8.26 acres, totaling 11.2 acres. The cost of the survey was $214.30, but the company was kind enough to discount the bill to $190. Lewis Pierce moved that the bill of $190 for the survey by paid. Clint Strang seconded the motion which was unanimously approved. R.E. Ragnar Erikson will deliver the check and pick up additional copies of the plat and description of the property.
The next meeting will be held on Wed., Mar 16th at the OPL. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
When you visit please take only pictures, leave only footprints...
PPSOC's Beginnings (Tim's Story)
Sand Ridge Prairie
Douglas E. Wade Prairie Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve
Clear Creek Unit Pine Rock Nature Preserve
PPSOC Membership Current & Upcoming Events
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Types of Prairies Sites to Visit
Index of Prairie Plants and Wildlife PPSOC Home Page
Historic Minutes Past Banquets
Past Speakers Past Field Trips