Protect · Educate · Engage
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.Read More
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!Read More
Please check back soon. We are rebuilding our website this weekend (September 6-9, 2013). If you have questions, please email us at email@example.comRead More