Welcome to Prairie Lands Foundation


Join the Fugate Challenge at Fugate Woods Nature Preserve!

Download Brochure 

Complete eight fun outdoors tasks and earn rewards. At the preserve experience two events, develop two new skills, volunteer twice, and attend two educational programs. Find ideas in the posting below.

There are no age restrictions, no time limits, and no fees. When you think you have completed eight outdoor tasks of your choosing, simply call a verifier and talk with them about your experience.

Complete the Fugate Challenge and the Prairie Lands Foundation will post your picture on their website and reward you with a gift. More importantly, outdoor time promotes better physical and mental health. Attending educational programs and developing new skills is mind building. Volunteering builds community.

Below are the 2024 educational programs. Registration is required.

  • February 3, Animal Tracks with science educator Scott Saffer
  • May 4, Forbs and Photos with botanist Bill Handel, the steward of the preserve, and local photographer Tracy DeWeese. Learn how to capture spring's beauty at the Photos and Forbs event on Saturday, May 4th from 10:00am-1:00pm. Meet at the Dominy Memorial Library in Fairbury to learn from local photographer Tracy DeWeese how to optimize your phone for quality photographs, composition, lighting, and editing. Then, Prairie Lands Steward Bill Handel will present on Illinois spring wildflowers, providing educational facts about the plants, and highlighting what we might see in the woods. Concluding the presentations we will travel to Fugate Woods & Jay's Timber to practice the skills we learned.
  • June 8, Join the Livingston County Master Naturalists in joint partnership with the Prairie Lands Foundation on Saturday, June 8th, for a morning filled with discovering bugs. USDA Plant Health Safeguarding Specialist, Tyler Hedlund will present "On the Wing and Crawling Along: A Walk with the Insects of Fugate Woods". We start at 10 a.m. in the basement of Dominy Memorial Library, 201 S 3rd St, Fairbury, IL 61739, then travel to the southeast gate of Fugate Woods, 23150-23898 E 1000 N Rd, Fairbury, IL 61739, to capture and ID bugs in the prairie. This program is free and open to all ages. An adult must accompany a child. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact Darci Webber. Register Here
  • August 10, Meteor Watch Party with amateur astronomer Paul Pouliet
  • September 14, Forest Therapy: Fun Run or Walk and Yoga with Illinois Grand Prairie Master Naturalists IGPMN
  • October 3, White-tailed Deer Behavior and Hunting in a Nature Preserve with IDNR Conservation Police Officer Jake Wessels and Deer Biologist Dr. Peter Schlichting, IDNR Deer Project Manager
  • October 19, Creatures of the Night with IGPMN
  • November 9, Owl Walk with science educator Scott Saffer

 Naturalist's Corner

February 3, 2024

On a beautiful winter afternoon, the Livingston County Master Naturalists held their first event of the year: Animal Tracks with Scott Saffer. This public event was a cooperative effort with the University of Illinois Extension and Prairie Lands Foundation. Over 50 people attended to learn more about animal tracks. Scott Saffer, a teacher at Tri-Point Upper Elementary School, kicked off the event at the Dominy Memorial Library in Fairbury with an animal track matching activity. Attendees learned about the animals that might be found at the woods and the characteristics of various tracks. Then, the group headed to Fugate Woods Nature Preserve to hike and search for tracks. Each person was given a laminated track card to help with identification. Numerous deer and raccoon tracks were found along the trails and some bird tracks were found on the banks of a nearby creek. Young attendees had the chance to make plastic of Paris castings of tracks found in the mud. Once a good track was found, it was encircled by a ring of cardboard. Plaster of Paris was mixed with water and then, poured into the track. After the casts hardened, they were removed from the cardboard ring and cleaned with brushes. Finally, the group gathered around a crackling campfire. They were treated to a look at pelts of several animals that would typically be found in the woods. Thank you to Scott Saffer for a fun and informative experience to learn about animal tracks. Thank you to Prairie Lands Foundation and the University of Illinois Extension for funding the event.

To learn more, visit our parks, trails & natural habitats page.

Prairie Lands Foundation manages Fugate Woods, a beautiful, diverse and historically rich timber area just northeast of Fairbury, IL, featured in this video.


Focusing in the tri-county area of Livingston, McLean and Ford counties in Illinois, Prairie Lands Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to promoting charitable community projects and developing educational programs, public spaces, and the conservation, preservation and beautification of urban and rural areas.

Denotes external links not owned or managed by Prairie Lands Foundation.

Prairie Lands Foundation
Bluestem Bank, Branch of Bank of Pontiac
104 E Locust St
Fairbury, IL 61739

ęCopyright 2018 - 2024 Prairie Lands Foundation. All rights reserved.