At Nachusa Grasslands, rare and endangered remnant prairie, woodlands, and wetlands are being reconnected through habitat restoration to create one of the largest and most biologically diverse grasslands in Illinois by protecting native grasses, wildflowers, birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.
Friends of Nachusa Grasslands (Friends) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 2008 by volunteers dedicated to providing for the long–term care and management of the project. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) owns and operates Nachusa Grasslands. Over the past thirty years, hundreds of concerned people have invested thousands of hours protecting and restoring remnant prairie at Nachusa Grasslands. Although many more years of effort lie ahead, Nachusa is already one of the most successful restorations in the world. We are now providing for its long–term survival.
Friends of Nachusa Grasslands Conflict of Interest Policy
Friends of Nachusa Grasslands Mission
The mission of Friends of Nachusa Grasslands is to build endowments that will help defray the cost of natural areas management, staff and operating expenses, conduct and encourage stewardship, and support education and scientific activity at the preserve. Over 95% of our income is expended on achieving these goals.
See the Friends of Nachusa Grasslands 2019 Annual Meeting Minutes for more information on our organization.
Build Endowed Funds
Permanently endowed funds will support the conservation and preservation of native plants, animals, and natural communities by providing funding for long-term stewardship at Nachusa Grasslands.
The Nachusa Grasslands Stewardship Endowment is managed by The Nature Conservancy, and the Friends Endowment for Nachusa Grasslands is managed by the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. Both endowments fund operations at Nachusa.
During the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Friends donated $363,025 to the endowments. As of June 30, 2019, the total of our two endowment funds was $1,904,180. Our goal is to permanently endow $3 million, with annual distributions going primarily toward operations at Nachusa Grasslands. For details on our income and expenses, see the 2018-2019 Treasurer's Report and our most recent IRS 990 tax form. An audit conducted in early 2020 is also available upon request.
Support Science and Education
To encourage science and education at Nachusa Grasslands, the Friends awards monetary grants to qualified candidates conducting scientific research significant to Nachusa Grasslands. Research projects should focus primarily on prairie, savanna, wetland, woodland, and stream habitat management such as prescribed fire, seed collection, weed control, general or specific flora or faunal populations, and natural areas restoration.
Since the awards began in 2011, annual amounts have increased from $1,000 to $47,782 in 2020. The maximum for the 2021 grants will be announced in the late summer of 2020.
Conduct and Encourage Stewardship
Volunteers are the heart and soul of prairie restoration at Nachusa. Whether it’s harvesting, planting, educating, monitoring, photographing, repairing, or advocating, you’ll discover a role that fits your passion and schedule.
In 2018-2019, Friends had 50 Voting Members who donated to Friends and volunteered at the preserve as well as 186 additional supporters committed to conserving Nachusa Grasslands.
Volunteers gave an amazing 15,000 hours at the preserve last year.
Friends offers opportunities to volunteer outside on the prairie or inside with social and administrative tasks. Your stewardship will make an important difference.
Friends and The Nature Conservancy
Nachusa Grasslands is owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit conservation organization.
Several of the activities described on this website, including workdays, controlled burns, hunting, public tours, the Prairie Smoke Annual Report, and Autumn on the Prairie, are offered and overseen by The Nature Conservancy.
Except for specific Friends–sponsored events, such as our Prairie Potlucks and Science Symposium, all Nachusa visitors and volunteers are under the auspices of The Nature Conservancy.
Friends of Nachusa Grasslands provides information about The Nature Conservancy programs to help fulfill our goals of promoting volunteerism, science, and education, but Friends of Nachusa Grasslands is not responsible for these activities.