Emiquon newsletter


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Emiquon newsletter

  1. 1. Emiquon Bursting with Life This Spring We’re seeing more and more species of wildlife at Emiquon this season and with them, one species we welcome with open arms: humans. Along with the birds, fish, and wildlife, nature lovers are finding themselves strongly attracted to the Emiquon Preserve and the many features it has to offer. With the Illinois River flowing next to it and the Spoon River running through it, the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge is a paradise for wildlife and humans alike. Visitors gather at a turn-off area along Route 97/78 that has a ramp for putting a boat into the Spoon River. Another popular turn-off area has become an unofficial dog training and exercising spot. Some pull-offs provide parking so visitors can hike, watch wildlife, have a picnic at the tables provided, or fish off of a raised dock. There is also a half-mile wheelchair accessible trail. There are many things to do but the favorite activity among nature lovers is to just sit and watch the different animals. On any given day this Spring, a quiet visitor may witness a doe and her young fawn getting a drink at the river’s edge. Seasonal hunting and fishing are now allowed at Emiquon. Leisure fishermen are already reporting catching more catfish than they can eat, along with crappie, bass and carp. Stockings so far have included standard gamefish: largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, walleye, brown bullhead, pumpkinseed sunfish, and warmouth. Several less popular but intriguing native species have also been hauled in by tanker truck from as far away as the Mississippi River: bowfin, spotted gar, grass pike and orange-spotted sunfish. Emiquon has also become a popular attraction for wildlife photographers. Ducks, geese, heron, and hawks can be found seasonally without too much effort. A more elusive subject would be any of the bald eagles that now return to Emiquon yearly, between October and March. Dog lovers are known to gather at the wooden footbridge at the dog training area to socialize with each other as their faithful companions do the same. Many visitors to the Emiquon Preserve enjoy taking a book and sitting at a picnic table on the raised dock. Sitting beneath the shade trees with the Spoon River flowing by, Emiquon is truly one of the most peaceful and relaxing spots in Illinois. In this issue: Emiquon Bursting With Life This Spring . . . . . page 1 Letter From the Director . . . . . page 2 Division news . . page 2 Q and A . . . . . . . page 3 In the Spotlight . . . . . page 3 Announcements . . . . . page 3 Calendar of Events . . . . . page 4 Ongoing EFS Photo Competition . . . . . page 4
  2. 2. EFS News Editor: Michael Lemke, Ph.D. lemke.michael@uis.edu Designer: Kim McFarland Letter From the Director As we all know, the mission of EFS is to teach natural sciences and train students of all ages in effective field biology techniques; learn more about natural flood-plain processes, freshwater ecology, and restoration and management strategies; and research cooperatively with regional, national, and international experts intimately familiar with the river and flood-plain restoration. In keeping with these goals I’m pleased to announce that EFS has set up a scholarship program to fund an undergraduate student scholarship, which will allow each selected student to spend a semester working on various research projects at EFS with the science faculty who are conducting ongoing research. When each scholarship recipient later enters the world as a UIS graduate, they’ll bring the lessons of Emiquon with them. Data compiled at EFS can be used to better understand the changes that occur as the Emiquon preserve, converted to cropland about 80 years ago, is restored to a complex system of backwater wetlands and lakes that will eventually serve once again as a vital component of the Illinois River. Habitat for migratory birds and several indigenous species of mammals, The Emiquon Field Station: Website: www.uis.edu/emiquon Phone: 217-206-7339 Division news: Dr. Luiz Felipe Machado Velho is currently visiting UIS from the State University of Maringa, located in southern Brazil. UIS has been connected with scientists from the University of Maringa for many years. Dr. Mike Lemke, professor of biology at UIS, traveled to Brazil several years ago and even co-wrote a published paper with Velho's colleagues in Brazil. "Dr. Lemke came to Brazil and started a collaborative project with our group, who has also been working on big rivers," Velho said. Being from Brazil, this is the first time Dr. Velho and his family have seen a snowy, icy winter. Welcome to Illinois, Dr. Velho! reptiles, and insects will be reestablished. Researchers at EFS hope to uncover principles of nutrient export that can be immediately applied to the current global fresh water problem. Alarmingly large portions of oceans and fresh water are no longer livable due to increased nutrient loading from agricultural activities. Wetlands foster clean water by filtering and collecting sediment, keeping our nation’s rivers cleaner and clearer. I think not to tell the story of the Emiquon Restoration would be a real disservice to society. There are real lessons here. To take on a restoration project of this size and learn from that, and then use that as a blueprint for other restorations has implications not only for habitat and wildlife, but also for water quality and just sound environmental management. We’re here on the ground level and we’ll be able to follow it, which makes this a wonderful opportunity. Work being done at EFS may uncover principles of nutrient export that can be immediately applied to the current global fresh water problem We welcome all levels of donation to the scholarship program, whether it's a one-time gift, a monthly donation or the establishment of a matching gifts program. For more information, please call 217/206-7339. With your gift, you can enrich a young person’s life by helping provide an invaluable education that cultivates a better future for the recipient and the community he or she serves throughout their life. -- Mike Lemke
  3. 3. Announcements and Recent Publications: UIS receives grant to purchase elemental analyzer. UIS Alumni Magazine, Fall 2008, p.7. Emiquon Floodplain Restoration - Partnership, Implementation, Research and Challenges. by Dr. Hua Chen and Director Michael Lemke. Restoration News Midwest January 2009, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp. 2-5. Q and A . . . Still to come. In the Spotlight . . . On a typical day during the school year, Dr. Gilbert Crain can be found in his office, writing for the monthly newsletter, Governmental Accounting and Auditing Update, or in a classroom, teaching students about the finer aspects of accounting. But when the summer moves in and school lets out, Crain packs up his books and heads to Yellowstone National Park, where he spends his days as a park ranger, primarily directing “bear jams” to ensure that Yellowstone’s bears can get safely across the roads, while leaving the park- goers and their vehicles unharmed as well. It’s a double life that isn’t for the faint of heart. Born in Urbana, Crain obtained his Ph.D. in accountancy from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was several years ago, while still living in Bozeman, Montana that Crain stumbled upon an opportunity that fulfilled a life- long dream of working outdoors. “When I first started at Southern (Illinois University at Carbondale for undergraduate), I had my sights on being a forester, but I’m not a science guy,” he said. “That was really always where I wanted to be, was outdoors. About eight years ago, I had the opportunity to quit teaching continuing education courses in the summer and started volunteering with Yellowstone.”
  4. 4. Calendar of Events Friday, April 17, 9–4: Be a part of the 9th Annual UIS SCIENCE RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM. Oral and Poster Presentations by Students, Faculty, and Guests; Awards for Best Posters and Oral Presentations. Keynote Speaker: Dr. Peter Ward, Professor of Paleontology, Department of Earth & Space Sciences, University of Washington “Mass Extinctions: Past, Present, And Future.” Organized by the Biology, Chemistry, & Clinical Lab Sciences Departments and the Student Science Clubs. Brookens Auditorium. Saturday, May 10: Don’t miss the UIS Biology Club’s Annual Plant Propagation Sale. The UIS Biology Club is an officially registered organization that seeks to broaden the experiences of students in the biological sciences, increasing the scientific understanding and development of each student. Brookens Auditorium. Winners of this issue’s photo contest Submit your Emiquon photos in jpeg form via email to lemke.michael@uis.edu to be considered for an upcoming issue of EFS News.