The Illinois Audubon Society has acquired 347 acres in Pope County with assistance from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The property, known as Round Pond, lies in the Coastal Plain Natural Division of Illinois in an ancient channel of the Ohio River. This wetland rich area contains high quality bottomland hardwood forests and deep water swamps with old growth bald cypress and tupelo gum timber.
The tract borders an existing 206 acre Illinois Nature Preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy. "Acquisition of this property will now protect all of the land associated with the Round Pond Natural Area and provides the opportunity to expand the portion of the site that is presently designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve," explained Executive Director Jim Herkert. "Once again the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has played a major role in protecting important natural areas in our state. We are honored to partner with them in protecting this site and the high quality wetlands it contains.”
The Illinois Audubon Society plans to provide public access to the site and is currently developing a public use plan. Round Pond provides habitat for a variety of breeding birds of forested wetlands, such as the Swainson’s warbler and also includes a heron rookery. Several rare plants also are known from the site including water hickory, American snowbell, winged sedge, cypress-knee sedge, swollen sedge, narrow-leaved sunflower and narrow-leaved crabapple.
The mission of the Illinois Audubon Society is to promote the perpetuation and appreciation of native plants and animals and the habitats that support them. The Society is an independent, member supported, not-for-profit, statewide organization. Founded in 1897, the Society is Illinois’ oldest private conservation organization with 2200 members, 18 chapters and 19 affiliate groups. The Illinois Audubon Society has protected nearly 5,000 acres by investing $11 million to protect land and water throughout Illinois.