By Jason Beverlin
Deputy Director of the Illinois River Program
September 2008 — My post at the edge of the bluff was perhaps the best spot from which to watch a landmark event in Emiquon’s history. The Nature Conservancy was delighted to welcome nearly 500 staff and family members from Caterpillar Inc. to the wetland in late August for the company’s on-site picnic and tour. Conservancy staff members were stationed around the preserve, from the dry prairie to the wetland, ready to guide our guests and answer questions. We talked with our visitors about the history of the site, from the findings of the archeological dig this past summer to the natural flow of the water and the busy world beneath its surface.
We welcomed our guests with the help of our neighbor, the Dickson Mounds Museum. From their parking lot, participants departed on a myriad of journeys. Others stayed close to enjoy a Birds of Prey show and live music. The spirit of the day ran through each activity, from educational events to performances. I think we all came away with a new perspective on this magnificent project. As Emiquon comes to life this year, it means different things to all of us, from a scientific demonstration, to a place to experience outdoor activities, to a new point of interest in our community.