The Orland Grassland Grand Birding Event (OGGBE) was held on May 21st and the data is in.

Orland Grassland Land and Water Reserve, FPCC, is a remarkable place, a regional treasure.  On May 21st it proved just that when the Orland Grassland Volunteers hosted the Orland Grassland Grand Birding Event (OGGBE) in honor of their 20th anniversary of volunteer stewardship.


OGGBE is a one-day snapshot of what birds are where throughout the site.  Begun in 2005 by Suzanne Koglin and other site volunteers, it continued each year for ten years.  Suzanne retired during this time and Jeanne Muellner Stacey continued leading the tradition until 2014.  


We thought it would be a good idea to see how our birds had changed, or not, so we brought it back for this year. We’ve come a long way with restoration activities and seen many successes.  We’ve been designated an Important Bird Area.  Our remnant borders have greatly expanded and flourished with native wildflowers and grasses, the natural hydrology is settling in with water-filled swales and new ponds, and our field days are filled with background songs provided by grassland birds, the most threatened group of species in North America. 


Orland Grassland has upland, prairie, swale, wetland, pond, shrubland, oak savanna and woodland habitats.  The nearly 1,000-acre site was divided into ten sections and each section was assigned a birder and an Orland Grassland Volunteer (OGV) scout. Regional and local birders came in for the count and OGVs helped them navigate around swales and ravines, helping them recognize their boundaries.


Jeanne, OGV and one of the BCN monitors for Orland Grassland, again took the lead in collecting the tallies from the birders and compiling the data.  She sorted it in many ways, making trend charts reflecting species, habitats and Birds of Concern.  The birders: Nancy Buis, Linda Radtke, Chip O’Leary, Sharon Krygowski, Jenny Vogt, Mary Bernat, Lisa Rade, Aubrey Sirmon, Mike McNamee, Mike Ores, Jeanne Stacey, Daniel Suarez, Stephanie Beilke and Anastasia Rahlin.  
















“Well isn’t this a surprise” said Marnie Baker.  She also analyzed the data which included this pie chart that divided the total number of species into habitats.  The woodland habitat has a lot of migrating warblers in May and that’s reflected in its total, but the number of shrubland species was a surprise when displayed in this way.  Nesting grassland birds are of primary importance, but shrubland birds are challenged too and it seems we have them both.


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Meetings & Events


Orland Grassland volunteers and enthusiasts have plenty to do within each of the seasons on the grassland, each with its own natural splendor.




7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Orland Park Civic Center

14750 So. Ravinia Ave.

Orland Park, IL

Next meeting:  Tuesday, July 12th

Data from the Orland Grassland Grand Birding Event (OGGBE) in May is in.  The numbers have been crunched and there will be many charts, photos and trends to talk about.  Jeanne and Marnie will do a presentation on the OGGBE data and Aubrey will talk about the OGGBE data in relation to the BCN Trend Analysis that was recently released by the Bird Conservation Network. "Contact Us" if you be there so we can plan for treats and seats :-)




Earth Day Celebration x 2


Our Habitat Rescue Team is dedicating two field days to Earth Day this year, one at Old Plank Road Prairie and one at Orland Grassland.

4-16--Old Plank Road Prairie


9:00 to noon

Located between Central Avenue and I-57, south of Route 30

Parking is along the north side of Miller Circle Drive (GPS Miller Circle Drive and Central Avenue, Matteson IL)


We need rakers!  We have cleared the stretch south of the car dealership parking lot of woodies, but much wet leaves, vegetative debris and trash is embedded in the soil. Raking this out will give the soil a breath of fresh air and sunshine.  We'll have gloves, tools and refreshments, but if you have a garden rake you can bring, that would be great.


This is terrific for individuals, families, groups and organizations.  Community Service Hours apply.  RSVP by hitting "Contact Us" above.

4-23--Orland Grassland


9:00 to noon

Parking on 167th west of La Grange Rd.


We'll be lopping callery pear and cutting invasive willows out of the swale in the area on the east side along the bike trail. 

We'll have gloves, tools and refreshments plus lots of smiling camaraderie. 

This is great for those 18 and older, minors with parents, groups and organizations.  Community Service Hours apply.  RSVP by hitting "Contact Us" above.



About Brats N' Burn


Usually is February, Brats N' Burn is a celebration of the Orland Grassland Volunteer's winter clearing work.  We build our brush pile, toss foil wrapped packets of brats, green peppers, onions and potatoes into fire and set the table with condiments and sides.  We take a break and eat a yummy lunch together.  It's a fun time.


About Hike the Night

To honor Earth Hour, Orland Grassland Volunteers are host a night hike at Orland Grassland along Birdsong Trail from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  We hike into the grassland wildness along this natural terrain footpath to see the sun set, hear the frogs call and stargaze into the night.  You may hear owls and see American woodcocks.  Red tower lights twinkle from the silhouette of the Chicago skyline seen from atop Kwadekik Hill.  You'll be unplugged, surrounded by nature, a multi-sensory delight.

Earth Hour is organized by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) uniting people to protect the planet.  See for more information.

About "Autumn on the Grassland"

It's fall and time to begin our seed harvest.  We wander the site under the guidance of the Orland Grassland Volunteers and collect seed from our native plants.  We have 1,000 acres to seed, and every precious seed counts.

About seed cleaning

Volunteers gather to clean all the native seed that’s been collected.  Sometimes we rub the seeds over hand-made screens; sometimes we pry them open with our fingers; and sometimes we use a hammer to split them open. Whatever it takes, we get the seeds ready and sorted for Grand Seeding Day, just a couple weeks later. After that, nature will work her winter magic on them: the seeds will  be denched and dried, frozen and thawed, until the spring sun tells them it’s time to take their rightful place in the open air.

About Grand Seeding Day

On this day, volunteers distribute all of the seed we’ve harvested and cleaned. When we gather in the parking lot, teams are formed to spread out over the site. Once in position, long lines of volunteers hand-shake priceless native wildflower and grass seeds into areas that are ready to receive them. Equipment is provided. 

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do."
Edward Everett Hale
Author and clergyman