Rock River Valley Chapter - Meetings

The Wild Ones Rock River Valley Chapter generally meets on the third Thursday of the month, starting at 7:00 p.m. and ending around 9:00. The time and location varies, depending on the event. Unless otherwise stated, we normally meet at Burpee Museum of Natural History, 813 N. Main in Rockford. All meetings are designed to provide ideas, know-how, and inspiration. Meetings usually consist of how-to-do-it sessions, presentations by experts in prairie, woodland, and wetland native plants and related subjects, and members profiling their own projects.

During the summer months we often meet at various outdoor locations such as area greenhouses or natural landscape sites including forest preserves, schools, and parks. July is reserved for our annual Native Landscape Tour where participants are taken by bus to a wide variety of landscapes in the area. There is a small fee for this event.

To see a calendar of upcoming meetings, click here. For further information, please contact: Tracy & Sheila Stenger, Presidents, at  815-624-6076 or

Annual Events

Show Me/Help Me Day

In addition to our regular meetings, we hold special events such as these informal tours. The purpose is to give members an opportunity to show off their native plantings and to seek advice from others. Visitors also get to learn how others use native plants. The most helpful aspect of the Show Me/Help Me Day is the exchange of ideas. The discussion is beneficial for the homeowner and the visitor alike.

Past tours have included city lots, rural lots, a former nursery, and a sand prairie under restoration. Members tour all sites or any of them at the appropriate time. Visitors drive to the sites, following a schedule. The Show Me/Help Me tours are offered whenever practical, usually during the Summer months. Guests are welcome. See the calendar here for the schedule.

Annual Native Landscape Tour

This highly aclaimed tour is conducted in July. Members and guests tour native plant landscapes in the Rockford area. They see and learn about landscapes consisting of city lots, schools, large spaces, open land, woodlands, and restorations. Some sites have been established from seed while others have been landscaped with plants, both rescued and purchased.

Participants are transported by bus and hosts talk about their landscapes. Garden Guides are on hand to help visitors identify plants. Everyone has time to walk around, ask questions, and learn about each site.

October Saturdays

Members have participated in restoration work on the Perryville Prairie, a small gravel hill prairie which the Chapter stewards. After clearing brush and cleaning up trash, members have the opportunity to collect seed. Members also collect seed and rescue plants on other Saturdays of the month.

Plant Rescues

Members participate in plant rescues. As many as six rescues are offered during the year. They generally are held in the Spring and Fall and the location varies depending on availability. For more information, contact Tim Lewis, Dig Chair at 815-874-3468 or

Seed Exchange and Potluck Dinner

Usually held in November, members bring identified and sorted native seed to exchange with others and participate in a potluck dinner. Those who do not have seed to exchange are encouraged to attend because there is always more than enough seed to go around.

Past Meetings

Meetings cover a variety of topics to address the needs of a diverse membership. Some programs offer the basic information needed by those members who are just starting out. Other programs are designed for the more experienced members. The following is just a sample of the past meetings.

For more information, contact Jeff Stack,Vice President-Programs at, 815-624-4225.

Native Trees and Shrubs Connor Shaw, owner of Possibility Place Nursery in Monee,IL has given presentations about using these plants in the home landscape. In addition, he brings the native shrub and tree which were ordered through the Chapter's plant sale.

Remnant Prairies in Winnebago County. Don Miller, Naturalist at Severson Dells, showed slides of numerous, and sometimes unknown, remnants in the county and stressed the importance of each.

Tour of Enders Greenhouse Anne Meyer, owner of the greenhouse, offered a special discount for native plants to members that night. Sale of the plants benefit the Natural Land Institute which is using the greenhouse.

Getting Started with Native Landscaping Joyce Powers of Prairie Ridge Nursery in Mt. Horeb, WI showed slides of the many and diverse native plants that can be used in lanscape designs.

Midwestern Grassland Birds Lee Johson from the Sand Bluff Banding Station discussed the history of birds of the area and how they have disappeared with the loss of habitat.

Wild Ones member Jeff Stack presented Indoor Propagation of Native Plants.

Panel Discussion and Q&A Four Chapter members gave a panel discussion of their experiences at incorporating native plants into their home landscapes. Then the audience asked questions about natives.

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All rights reserved. Updated April 8, 2002.

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