"River Bend Wildland Trust"

Protect · Educate · Engage

BioBlitz Fun

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

BioBlitz Fun

Who would take a night hike deep into the Blackhawk State Park Woods just to find bats?

Electronic gadgets clap to signal bat activity over head, mist nets hang between trees to catch bats for identification, and bat experts explain it all to those of us tagging along to see what we can see.

entomology crew at work

This is what a BioBlitz is.


Experts from many biological disciplines  gathering for 24 hours to find and identify as many different species as possible at a specific site.  Even better, the public is invited along to assist and to learn.
This year’s event was fun – and productive. We identified 534 species on the day of the event, though scientists took photos and samples with them and continue to add to that total (628 as of this article).  We will use this information to improve habitats, protect endangered species, and monitor the health of this site.   Thanks for your help and support!  Make sure you book mark this page and follow us on Facebook and give us your comments!

boy with pinching beetle


Photos by Janelle Ruholl

Jared Ruholl teaching bees 2



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BioBlitz Public Events

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

BioBlitz Public Events

The BioBlitz runs begins at 3pm Friday, June 27 and runs for 24 continuous hours, ending at 3pm on Saturday.  Many events are open to the public.  Find us at Black Hawk State Park in Rock Island, our base camp is near Singing Bird Lodge, 15th Street and Blackhawk Road.

7-9pm  Meet the Experts and learn about the various survey methods first hand.
8pm      Night Hike with Bob Bryant
Sunset  Bat Surveys (Misting Net – Catch and Release)

Sunrise  Bat Surveys (Misting Net – Catch and Release)
6am     Bird Hike with QC Audubon Society with Jody Millar and Pat Carlson
8am     Bird Hike with QC Audubon Society with Jody Millar and Pat Carlson
10am    River Watch Citizen Science Program
10:30   Ecology Hike with Tom Root
10:30   Acoustic Bat Monitoring Workshop with Amber Schorg
11am     Flora Hike with Bob Bryant
12pm    Ethnobotanical Hike with Chuck Wester
2pm     River Watch Citizen Science Program

We have Native Plants, Seeds, Shirts, and Bake Sale Goods available for purchase on Friday 7-9pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.
The HyVee Grill will provide food for purchase Saturday from 11:30 to 1:30.

We hope you will join us – and if you are interested in volunteering or becoming a member, please email us at: info@rbwt.org

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We’re Pulling An All-Nighter

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

We’re Pulling An All-Nighter

It’s for science and you’re invited.

On June 27 beginning at 3pm and continuing for 24 straight hours at Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island, IL., we will be documenting species. We call it a BioBlitz and it helps us understand the biodiversity that exists in a specific place.  It can help us understand the sites health and the challenges and opportunities that exist.

Night Collecting







And we need volunteers to help with many tasks.  If you are interested you can email us at info@rbwt.org and let us know how you might want to help!  We promise  that you will have a great time, a great t-shirt, and make a big contribution to Conservation!










River Bend Wildland Trust is a volunteer organization that exists because of you!  Your donations and volunteer work protect land, provide education, and create a better local ecology. You can download our pledge form for the BioBlitz here!

See You there!

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Bio Blitz Volunteer Sign Up

Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Our second annual Bio Blitz is now just one month away!  This is an exciting, fun event that is open to the public and gives everyone an opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of our local biological diversity.  WE NEED VOLUNTEERS for many tasks from setting up, registering visitors, helping scientists, cleaning up, running educational booths and much more.  Please sign up today.


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Prairie Restoration Project

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

RBWT is excited to announce plans to plant and restore a native prairie on 7 acres in the Milan Bottoms area along Highway 92 West of Rock Island.  The plan is multi-phased beginning later this year with removal of invasive species and other work to prepare for planting. Beginning in the Spring of 2015 we hope to plant thousands of native seedlings throughout the site.  Keep an eye on this page for specific dates and opportunities to volunteer.  You can also help us by making a donation and becoming a member of the River Bend Wildland Trust.

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Sign up now for the Great Garlic Mustard Pull!

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Sign up now for the Great Garlic Mustard Pull!

Black Hawk State Park
Saturday, May 3, 2104 (9:00 am – Noon) 
Great Garlic Mustard Pull: Saving native wildflowers from garlic mustard
As a volunteer, you can help in a major effort to remove the invasive Garlic Mustard plant from Historic Black Hawk State Park. Black Hawk State Park is a wooded, steeply rolling 208-acre tract – bordering the Rock River in Rock Island County. Prehistoric Indians and nineteenth-century settlers made their homes here, but the area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and the warrior-leader whose name it bears – Black Hawk. The site, which is also noted for its many natural features, is managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. In May, we will be pulling Garlic Mustard.  Garlic Mustard is an invasive species that is rapidly taking over many woodland areas and suppressing valuable native wildflowers.  It not only threatens native plants but all other wildlife that depends on those plants for survival.  This plant produces large amounts of seed that allows the weed to spread rapidly.  If that is not bad enough, it also releases toxins into the soil that inhibit other plants from growing nearby.
Activity:  Volunteers will help pull and bag garlic mustard, an invasive weed. This activity is great for a wide range of ages because we simply hand pull the invasive plants and fill up garbage bags.
# of Volunteers: Sign up is limited to 60 volunteers to ensure a meaningful experience.
Meet at Singing Bird Lodge, 46th Avenue and 15th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201.
www.rbwt.org. email us at info@rbwt.org to RSVP to reserve your Free Hotdog/Veggie dog lunch.  Wear layered clothing with sturdy field boots.  If you have your own gloves please bring them.  River Bend Wildland Trust will provide drinking water, tools and gloves, if needed.
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Why a BioBlitz in the Milan Bottoms?

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

In early 2013, the River Bend Wildland Trust set out to shed its former name, to separate from its parent organization, and to clarify its mission. What better way to embark on a new path than to host a BioBlitz?

A BioBlitz is an intensive survey of as many species as possible within a specified area during a 24-hour period. The hallmark of a BioBlitz is that members of the public witness and participate in a study of local biodiversity, typically in a nearby park or wildland area. The goal is to collect basic taxonomic data and to highlight the value of local habitats. The first BioBlitz occurred in 1996, and the name “BioBlitz” was coined by U.S. National Park Service naturalist Susan Rudy. Since then, the BioBlitz movement has gone global from New York’s Central Park to Taiwan’s Peace Park.

RBWT’s mission can be expressed briefly in its motto: Protect, Educate, Engage. Organizing the first BioBlitz in the Quad Cities area flowed naturally from that mission.

Protect: We selected an ecologically rich area. The Milan Bottoms is the largest stretch of floodplain forest and marsh along the Upper Mississippi in Illinois. Cyclic flooding in a floodplain results in deposits of nutrient-rich soil that supports a wide variety of species. The Bottoms, a 92-acre tract owned by the Natural Land Institute under the stewardship of the RBWT, provided the perfect site for the BioBlitz.

Educate: People who drive by the Milan Bottoms daily may wonder just what’s in there, or they may see only an area between degraded agricultural land on one side and the Mississippi on the other. The BioBlitz demonstrated what a treasure we have here in our region. We don’t have to go to South American rainforests to encounter biological diversity. The BioBlitz enabled visitors to observe plants and animals adapted to life in a floodplain. The dynamic nature of the floodplain was in play as boats were able to get farther into the Bottoms than expected, though tours on foot met some unforeseen limitations (mud and high waters). In keeping with the spirit of what a BioBlitz offers the public, visitors got a first-hand look at scientific fieldwork as scientists catalogued, weighed, and measured the species collected.

Engage: The RBWT offers people of all interests and abilities the opportunity to volunteer toward creating a more sustainable future. Early on, RBWT members started planning and recruiting partners from local groups and colleges, as well as initiating fundraising activities to cover the cost of the BioBlitz. Ultimately, about 150 volunteers participated in some aspect of the event. Their enthusiasm and sense of engagement was matched by that of our partners and contributors. Even after the event, The Radish/The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus and WVIK brought the BioBlitz to life for the greater QC community through a two-page article and two radio interviews.

The Milan Bottoms BioBlitz was a successful first act for the newly constituted River Bend Wildland Trust. We look forward to more opportunities to protect, educate and engage!

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