Thousands of Sinkholes, Hundreds of Caves, Dozens of Rare Species…. Recent Discoveries and New Data About Our Karst Landscapes

November 2, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

Sinkholes are the most obvious karst landscape feature in southwestern Illinois. Using GIS tools and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) images, over 15,000 sinkholes have been mapped in the area of Monroe, Randolph, and St. Clair Counties known as the Sinkhole Plain. Monroe County recently launched an interactive map showing sinkhole distribution in the county […]


Waterfowl Conservation in Southwest Illinois

October 7, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

By Carl Handel, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Historically, Illinois was wetland rich and consequently a waterfowl abundant land prior to settlement. What emerged was a strong waterfowling tradition among its citizens that extended from the early days of market hunting to some of the best waterfowl research and conservation in the nation. […]


Bats: Shedding Light on Nocturnal Wildlife

September 8, 2019 clifftop CliffNotesUncategorized

By Vona Kuczynska, biologist with Wildheart Ecology If someone asked you to name ten different kinds of mammals, you may list off zebras, elephants, tigers, chimpanzees, or even dogs or cats. What may not immediately come to mind are bats, even though they make up one fifth of all mammals on our planet! There are […]


Why Seeds? Why now?

August 18, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

By Martin Kemper, retired IDNR Heritage Biologist If you read; if you listen; if you simply look out your window as you travel about you will know… know that we are living in what historians are beginning to refer to as the 6th great extinction event. The fifth such event was the result of an […]


A Prescription for Better Health: Get Outdoors

July 8, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

Spending time outdoors, especially among trees and flowers, is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness.  It’s been shown to improve memory, lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while encouraging physical activity and improving mood and mental health. A recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, […]


Prairie Ecology at Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve

June 8, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

Clifftop’s 535 acre Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve (PWSNP) is now open to the public for passive nature oriented recreation and education! The grand opening occurred May 18 when over 100 folks gathered on the site to dedicate the newly constructed pavilion, accessible hiking trail, outdoor exhibits / trail guide, landscaping and parking / restroom […]


Come See the Splendor of our Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve

May 9, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

By Jared Nobbe, Clifftop President I remember the first time I stepped foot on what would become the Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve.  At the time, I was called out to help evaluate equipment that was being stored on the property.   As I worked my way through the rather impressive collection of antique equipment among […]


Spring Wildflowers Are Spectacular in the Bluff Corridor

April 6, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

Driving along Bluff Road in early April, you surely notice a sea of blue covering the talus slope.  What is talus, you might ask?  Talus is a sloping mass of rocky fragments at the base of a cliff or bluff.  That sea of blue is Virginia bluebells. As you walk the Johnson Trail at the […]


Why Our Forests Should Be Managed

March 17, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

By Chris Evans, University of Illinois Extension Forester Landowners often take the approach of “letting nature take its course” when it comes to their forests.  They assume that without human intervention, their forest land will return to a healthy, balanced state.  Unfortunately, for the oak hickory forests so common in southern Illinois, this approach will […]


Hunting for Conservation: Sportsmen Play Key Roll in Preserving Habitat

February 8, 2019 clifftop CliffNotes

Hunters are among the most ardent conservationists.  Theodore Roosevelt, the founder of the National Wildlife Refuge System and a hunter himself, acknowledged it.  “In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen,” the 26th president of the United States said years ago. “Hunters are a driving […]


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