Get Ready to Party on the Prairie July 20

Natural Land Institute (NLI) is hosting “Party on the Prairie,” a fundraiser “For the Birds,” from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, at Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 W. Rockton Road, Rockton.

The theme for this year’s fundraiser, benefitting Nygren Wetland Preserve, illuminates how the natural area is a birding hotspot that’s open to the public. A wide variety of species live in and migrate through the area.

“It’s really a wonderful outdoor summer gala for people to experience mid-summer wildflowers and views overlooking the prairie while supporting the work of Natural Land Institute,” says Kim Johnsen, director of marketing and membership at NLI.

The event begins with horse-drawn wagon rides through the prairie. Guests can enjoy a signature drink during the social hour, along with a cash bar and appetizers, while listening to music from Three Good Men. A nature-themed silent auction is open from the time guests arrive through the end of the full-service sit-down dinner catered by Greenfire Restaurant. NLI members and donors receive an invitation, while the general public can order tickets online.
The every-other-year event, which began in 2007, takes place in an elegant setting with stunning views of the land and all living things that call it home.

Wildflowers are blooming, and grassland birds fly around and perch on the yellow blooms of Prairie Dock and the many vibrant colors of native herbs and plants. American White Pelicans and Sandhill Cranes are often seen soaring overhead toward the wetland.

“Nygren Wetland is important to our community because it provides for a good quality of life for our residents and visitors,” Johnsen says. “It’s a place of respite and where someone can really connect with nature. It shows off the kind of work we do and why it is so important to have natural areas in a community.”

Nygren Wetland is a 721-acre wildlife refuge and has a unique history in that its existence dates to 10,000 years ago.

For tickets, more information, and/or to become an NLI member, visit or call (815) 964-6666.