Run for the Prairie: Update


The Friends of the Sangamon Valley Board of Directors is excited to announce additional details about the group’s first-ever Run for the Prairie. The 5K/10K race and a family fun run will be held at Centennial Park Sept. 17, 2016.

The 10K starts at 9 a.m. The 5K starts at 10 a.m. The family fun run starts at about 10:20 a.m. The fun run will be about one-mile in length.

The course will be laid out on the mowed grass firebreaks at Centennial Park that are about 80 feet wide. The entire course if 5K. 10K runners will run the course twice. Runners will be timed, although it is not a sanctioned race. T-shirts and medals will be awarded to all runners in the 5K and 10K. Family run groups will receive t-shirts and finisher ribbons. Runners must register separately for each race.

The event offers an opportunity for the Friends to reach new audiences, while providing participants the opportunity to run in a natural setting.

Registration fees are $40 for the 10K and $30 for the 5K. The family fun run registration fee is $20 for a family of up to six people or $10 for an individual.

Volunteers are needed to help set up and tear down the event. Water stations throughout the course also will need to be staffed. We also need help monitoring the course during the race, registering and checking in the runners and help awarding medals and t-shirts.

Volunteers will be needed from 8 a.m. until mid-afternoon. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Dick Poynter at 585-1818. Register for the race at: Keep in touch on Facebook at:

Announcement for Racers


The Run for the Prairie


Announcement for Racers

Friends of the Sangamon Valley is pleased to present this inaugural event designed to introduce a new audience to the Tallgrass Prairie. In addition to raising awareness of the Centennial Park Prairie restoration, FOSV hopes to increase its membership and raise funds to support its stewardship efforts.

As always, we welcome your help. Volunteers are needed to help race day go smoothly. Give Vern LaGesse a call at 525-1410. Stay up to date by following the event on Facebook.


Get Involved in Stewardship

One of the advantages to being a Friends volunteer is the opportunity to visit and help maintain a variety of natural areas – many on private property or with limited access.

There are opportunities for stewardship each month. Dates are listed below for planned workdays through the end of May. You don’t have to attend all of them, just choose the ones that fit your schedule.

Activities include cutting and removing invasive species, prepping for controlled burns, plant and insect inventories and more.

The most rewarding part is to return in a few months too see how the site has responded to management. We look forward to seeing you at a workday soon.


Every Tuesday:  10 a.m. – noon at Glenwood Woods

March 19: 10 a.m. – noon at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site

March 20: 1 – 3 p.m. Adams Wildlife Sanctuary


Every Tuesday:  10 a.m. – noon at Glenwood Woods

April 9: 1 – 3 p.m. at the Wolf Preserve

April 16: 1 – 3 p.m. at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site

April 17: 1 – 3 p.m. at the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary

April 23: 1 – 3 p.m. at Walden West

April 24: 1 – 3 at the Nipper Wildlife Sanctuary

April 30: Tour of Mary Lou Lael’s property


Every Tuesday:  10 a.m. – noon at Glenwood Woods

May 14: 1 – 3 p.m. at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site

May 15: 1 – 3 p.m. at the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary

May 21: 1 – 3 p.m. at the Wolf Preserve

May 28: 1 – 3 p.m. at Walden West

May 29: 1 – 3 p.m. at the Nipper Wildlife Sanctuary surveying plants and insects

Places we work, and directions to each site:

Adams Wildlife Sanctuary: Join us at the Illinois Audubon Society’s sanctuary in Springfield. Meet in the sanctuary’s parking lot. Address: 2315 E Clear Lake Ave, Springfield, IL 62703.

Glenwood Woods: Join us for stewardship activities at this City Water Light and Power property on Lake Springfield every Tuesday morning. Meet at Lake Wood Drive, the first road east of Glenwood Middle School.

Nipper Wildlife Sanctuary: Join us at this prairie restoration outside Loami. From Springfield or Chatham, take E. Loami Road west to Lead Line Road. Turn south (left) on Lead Line to Withers Road. Turn West (right) on Withers. Go about one-half mile until you see the signs for the sanctuary. Meet in the parking lot at 9560 Withers Road.

Walden West: Join us at this privately-owned natural area near Manito. Meet at the Hardees at Walnut and Jefferson Streets in Springfield one hour before the time listed above.

Washington Park: Join George Rose in controlling exotic species in Springfield’s Washington Park. George will schedule workdays throughout the season when he is available. Call George at 787-1940 if you are interested.

Wolf Preserve: Join us for stewardship activities at our preserve near Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site. Meet at the Hardees at Walnut and Jefferson Streets in Springfield one half-hour before the time listed above.

Unless noted otherwise, call Vern LaGesse at (217) 525-1410 for more information. Workdays usually last about two hours and often include a tour. Work gloves and boots are recommended for all work days. All other equipment is provided.

Prescribed burns are weather-dependent and are NOT scheduled in advance. Call Vern to be included on his e-mail list of volunteers interested in helping burn. Due to weather conditions, there may be only a day’s notice prior to a burn being conducted. See our Stewardship page for more information.


Friends Launching Capital Campaign


The Friends of the Sangamon Valley has continued to grow over the past two decades. We now own 235 acres and help manage an additional 2,000 acres of natural areas. It’s a big job, and we aren’t getting any younger.

So to add a little muscle to our restoration efforts, the Friends of the Sangamon Valley is kicking off a capital campaign to raise $25,000 per year to hire one part time steward who will help maintain Friends properties and help complete work required by grants.

The Friends will continue to seek grants and other income to help us fund this position and we’ll keep you up to date on our progress. However, the goal will be much easier to attain with your help. You can read the letter from Friends Board President Bill Crook to our supporters here.

Please consider making a donation to our Stewardship Campaign to help us reach our goal of a sustainable stewardship program.

For your convenience, you can donate through PayPal.

Our Mission

The mission of the Friends of the Sangamon Valley is to preserve the natural heritage of the Sangamon River watershed by acquiring, restoring, and protecting ecologically significant lands. Many of the counties in the watershed do not have a local conservation district or other land trust organization dedicated to preserving land or restoring and maintaining natural areas. The Friends fills this niche.

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Initially formed as the Friends of Carpenter Park, the Friends of the Sangamon Valley has expanded its mission to encompass the broader watershed, including work in several counties.

Our focus is hands-on stewardship. We believe in the strength and ability of community volunteers to provide the best care and management of our local natural resources. Our volunteers participate in strategic planning, endangered species monitoring, exotic species control, controlled burns, and other ecological management activities. We also provide opportunities for workshops, tours, and just getting outside to appreciate some of the overlooked gems in Central Illinois.

Mailing Address:

PO Box 13352, Springfield, IL 62791.

Support the work of the Friends by donating through PayPal.