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Sanctuary Update

On May 14, 2014 Peoria Audubon members got together and squabbled, haggled, and generally went tooth and nail against their birding brothers and sisters… all for a good cause! We held our Sanctuary Fundraising Auction to raise money for our endowment fund dedicated to our Sanctuary Initiative. This year’s auction raised $2,126 for the Chillicothe Bottoms Project.

This latest fundraising effort has put our sanctuary fund endowment balance over the $55,000 mark! As an endowment, we hold these funds with the Community Foundation of Central Illinois and utilize the interest and investment results to help with sanctuary development and future stewardship projects. Our feature sanctuary project is Chillicothe Bottoms, in partnership with Illinois Ducks Unlimited. We also have some funds dedicated to our Brimfield RR Prairie Preserve and it’s stewardship and care.

A site was selected that we now call Chillicothe BottomsThis 236 acre Ducks Unlimited property is home to high quality emergent wetlands, buttonbush swamp, and floodplain forest.

Although not yet open to the public, Peoria Audubon and Ducks Unlimited are partnering to develop the property into a future Peoria Audubon Sanctuary with access.

For the last year, Peoria Audubon has been conducting a bird census, and we have documented 150 species that utilize this unique blend of critical habitat

The Sanctuary Committee is again meeting to develop a strategic plan on moving forward. 




Sanctuary News

Why a Sanctuary? | Why Peoria Audubon?What Kind of Sanctuary? |
Why a Sanctuary Fund? | Make a Donation |  Brochure 

The Illinois River valley is a critical migratory corridor for both land and water birds, connecting southern wintering areas with northern breeding ranges. During migration, these birds rely on the wide Peoria Lakes and forested river bluffs to feed and rest. The Illinois River valley is also home to over one hundred breeding bird species who use wetlands, forests, and prairies to nest and raise young.

As development has pushed the boundaries of our cities and suburbs further into rural areas, habitat for birds has correspondingly dwindled. Peoria Audubon's Sanctuary Initiative is working to reverse this trend.

Why a Sanctuary?

In 2000, Peoria Audubon initiated a Sanctuary Fund as the first step toward its goal of establishing a sanctuary for birdwatching in Central Illinois. The goals for the sanctuary are to:

  • Protect birds and bird habitat.

  • Provide the public with a quality wildlife watching experience.

  • Educate the public about birds, their role in Central Illinois ecosystems, and their conservation needs.

  • Demonstrate effective bird conservation practices.

  • Promote Central Illinois as a destination for eco-tourism.

Peoria Audubon is committed to partnering with other local, state, and national organizations as necessary to turn this goal into a reality. Peoria Audubon believes that a local Audubon sanctuary can fill an important role in Central Illinois and, in the end, will further the efforts of all groups dedicated to preserving what remains of our natural heritage.

Why Peoria Audubon?

Peoria Audubon believes the next decade will provide unique opportunities for protecting bird habitat in Central Illinois.

  • Peoria Audubon has a long tradition of advocacy for birds, bird habitat, and the Illinois River. A sanctuary is a natural complement to these efforts.

  • Peoria Audubon continues to be the definitive source of information about Central Illinois Bird populations through its Spring and Christmas bird counts, breeding bird surveys, and the new Central Illinois River Census. This knowledge is essential for selecting and managing an effective bird sanctuary.

  • Peoria Audubon, with its directed focus on birds, is well-positioned to partner with area tourism groups and capitalize on the growing popularity of birdwatching and events such as Central Illinois Eagle Day.

  • Peoria Audubon is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to birds, bird habitat, and bird conservation.

  • Peoria Audubon is a chapter of National Audubon and an affiliate of Illinois Audubon, and able to tap resources at the state and national level.

What Kind of Sanctuary?

Peoria Audubon has decided to initially look for a sanctuary property that fits the following criteria:

  • Preferably wetland habitat.

  • Of a size and potential quality to be of "ecological value" with high quality breeding and migratory bird habitat.

  • Accessible for public wildlife viewing.

  • Within 20-30 miles of Peoria.

Why a Sanctuary Fund?

In 2000, Peoria Audubon initiated two funds managed by the Community Foundation of Central Illinois. The Peoria Audubon Non-Endowed Fund will be used to purchase a Central Illinois bird sanctuary once a suitable location is found and adequate funds are available. The Peoria Audubon Endowed Fund is a capital fund that will be used to generate income for ongoing maintenance of a sanctuary.

The funds are intended to:

  • Provide accountability to donors and ensure that contributions are used for sanctuary acquisition and maintenance.

  • Ensure professional investment management and conformance with all related accounting and tax requirements.

  • Improve Peoria Audubon’s ability to accept non-cash donations, including stocks, bonds, land, and other assets. (Contact the Community Foundation of Central Illinois at 309-674-8730 for more information.)

  • Enhance Peoria Audubon’s fund-raising ability and sharpen the focus of annual efforts such as the March Auction and the November Birdseed Sale.

Make a Donation

The Peoria Audubon Sanctuary Funds are managed by the Community Foundation of Central Illinois. Donations can be made to the Peoria Audubon Non-Endowed Fund for purchase of a Central Illinois bird sanctuary once a suitable location is found and adequate funds are available. Donations can also be made to the Peoria Audubon Endowed Fund, a capital fund that will be used to generate income for ongoing maintenance of a sanctuary .

Send contributions to:

Community Foundation of Central Illinois
331 Fulton Street
Suite 310
Peoria, IL 61602

A Donation Form is available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Corporate Matching

Remember that donations to the Sanctuary Fund are tax-deductible, and that several employers, including Caterpillar and State Farm will match donations.  Caterpillar matching gift forms can be found at: Caterpillar Matching Gifts Program.

Peoria Audubon is incorporated in the State of Illinois with 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, making all charitable contributions tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.


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