Walking Enthusiasts – Observers of Nature – Outdoors Folks – Those Who Appreciate the Natural Order of “The Woods” –
Fairbury, and it’s surrounding communities, are quite fortunate in that there is a Natural Preserve situated, in amongst all this farming and commercial civilization, within easy access for all of us to enjoy. The Fugate Woods, the Bluestem Trail and the James Family Woods offers everyone who wishes, the opportunity to stroll, power walk, or even jog (if you’re careful) through a natural setting of trees, grasses, indigenous plants and flowers, and bushes and shrubs that are populated with all the area’s wild life from birds to animals to even some occasional migratory visitors. Located just a bit northeast of Fairbury, the main entrance is at 1000 North Road, you will find all of this at your command and you can follow any one of the many trails that will take you through this treasure trove of Mother Nature’s natural habitats and beauty. It can be enjoyed at your own pace and leisure and it won’t take much in the way of distance in before you are surrounded by the serenity of a woodlands that has been carefully protected and maintained by a group of very knowledgeable folks. You health minded individuals who like to walk for the exercise – well, here is an opportunity to walk about as far as you want but to be able to do so in an environment that is as visually rewarding as the exercise itself is and it isn’t near as boring as city streets and sidewalks are. Outdoorsman, nature lovers – bring your cameras and get some pictures of things that you’re not going to see out there in your backyards or in between the cornfields. This preservation of natural landscapes is both serene and exciting and you’ll see things and come to know things that will make you appreciate the mental therapy that comes from the experience – each trip into “the woods” provides a new adventure of its own accord and you never know what visual wonder is going to greet you at the next bend in the trail. Not to worry though – there aren’t any lions and tigers and bears, just some very bashful furry and feathered friends.
Even though this is a “natural preserve” there are things that need to be done to keep the beauty in and the ugly out and that is where the dedicated team of stewards and volunteers come in. Volunteer work day opportunities are posted seasonally throughout the community and, at the website, fugatewoods.org, and if you’re interested (and we all should be) then you can add your support to the scheduled projects by volunteering your help in accomplishing them. The next scheduled work day is Saturday, October 25th from 9:00am to 11:00am and all volunteers are most welcome and any help would sure be appreciated. Bring the family, bring your friends, bring yourself – you’ll get a genuine chance to see the beauty of the place as well as a realization of what does and doesn’t keep it that way. If you don’t have the time to make the date your dollars are also very welcome – donations are totally tax deductible and are 100% funneled into the upkeep of “the woods” and their health.
There is a very important significance to volunteer help and donations for the near future – The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has awarded the Prairie Lands Foundation (the trust that governs the combined preserve) a grant that will provide $3.00 for every $1.00 donated (up to $21,000), $5,000 to assist in the acquisition of the equipment needed to do the work and the seed and plant materials to be used, as well as an additional $4,000 that will be issued if documentation for at least 400 volunteer hours can be submitted. So, as you can see, all aspects of the public’s involvement is needed and would certainly provide a very welcome infusion of funds that will help secure the protection and longevity of this “great escape” from civilization. For more details about the preserve and information on how to volunteer or donate go to the website above or look for the postings that are in most of the local places of business. For monetary donations you can make a check out to “Prairie Lands Foundation” and mail it to PLF c/o David Hammer – 104 E. Locust St. – Fairbury, Il. 61739. Go ahead, help keep the woods a great place to go to and give them a hand on October 25th – you can make a difference. All ages are welcome.