Milan Bottoms in June


The River Bend Wildland Trust may be new, but our members have been serving the Quad Cities Region of Illinois and Iowa for decades.  We are made up of Master Naturalists, Natural Area Guardians, Master Gardeners, University Professors, Conservation Professionals, and Volunteers interested in protecting our natural resources for the future.

For many years our members and volunteers have been working to conserve and preserve lands as well as to educate our community under other names.  In 2013 we began a new chapter in land conservation, education, and sustainability as River Bend Wildland Trust.

RBWT is the only conservation organization whose focus is to make conservation permanent, for private or public use, in the Quad Cities.


The River Bend Wildland Trust protects and manages lands of significant natural value in the watersheds of the Mississippi and Rock River, and provides ecological stewardship, education, and initiatives aimed at creating a more sustainable environment.

Through land use planning advocacy and direct action to preserve areas by acquisition, RBWT preserves land individually or in partnership with other organizations and agencies in pursuit of our vision to create a region where natural areas are recognized as a significant asset to community sustainability in terms of, quality of life through access to nature for all demographic groups; and where economic development recognizes natural systems and their impacts in a changing climate.


River Bend Wildland Trust, through board resolution, has adopted the Land Trust Alliance’s (LTA) Standards and Practices. This puts us in the company of over 1,700 land trusts nationally that are working to protect, preserve, and restore land.  River Bend works in coordination with 4 surrounding land trusts  (Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Natural Land Institute, Prairie Land Conservancy, and Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation) and numerous local conservation organizations to accomplish our mission.

River Bend Wildland Trust’s Main Program Areas

  1. Acquiring and protecting natural areas to build strategic core, buffer and corridors of habitat;
  2. Managing and Restoring Conservation Lands: Partnering with owners of Natural Area Inventory sites, registered nature preserves, and adjacent sites is done to make sure the area ecological treasurers are maintained.
  3. Education: RBWT mentors late high school, college and young adult individuals interested in learning hands-on ecological restoration and ecosystem management practices. Programs involving elementary aged youth are also undertaken in partnership with other organizations;
  4. Ecological Services (fee-for-service): Consistent with our mission of restoring land, RBWT uses its knowledge of ecological restoration to assist clients on private land as a revenue stream to support non-income generating programs.



Ecological Well-Being: Ensuring our land, water, and air is conserved for wildlife habitat and sustainable human economic and recreational uses; wildlife and plant diversity; and the opportunity for future generations to live in harmony with the land.

Stewardship: Restoration, protection, and maintenance of conserved property as appropriate for its best long-term stewardship.

Education: Inspiring land and water conservation in all local citizens, establishing learning opportunities that will motivate a new generation of people who desire to seek a living in direct connection with the land and its resources.

Community Resilience/Viability: In support of Q2030, a regional action plan for the Quad Cities, maintaining economic viability in concert with land and water conservation.

Endowed: Committed to being financially responsible by establishing a minimum endowment for each protected property.

Transparency: Conduct and Communicate our business with openness and integrity.
River Bend Wildland Trust is operating under the fiscal sponsorship of the Natural Land Institute, an IRS Tax-Exempt 501(c)3 Organization whose mission is to create an enduring legacy of natural land in northern Illinois for people, plants, and animals.