Volunteers being work on rehabbing house into education center

FRANKLIN GROVE - On Saturday, June 30, Franklin Creek Conservation Association staff and local volunteers began work on their next big project—rehabbing a house into an education center and community space. The 1480 Project idea was developed when the Franklin Creek Conservation Association acquired a very unique piece of wetland, prairie, and woodland to add to the rest of the Franklin Creek State Natural Area, and obtained a derelict house along with it. Because of the centralized location within the Franklin Creek State Natural Area, the house is perfectly situated for the Franklin Creek Conservation Association’s use.

Many initial ideas were brought up, but due to Franklin Creek Conservation Association’s current push to develop more education programs for local children, the board decided to turn this house into a nature education center. There is still a considerable amount of progress to be made, but the first official workday was successful. In just a few hours, the property was cleared of poison ivy, weeds were managed, ivy was pulled off the side of the house, and garbage was collected. Volunteers, Jim Lillyman and Dave Lawson, worked hard weed whipping and removing poison ivy from the property, while Donna Ducharme, Katie McBride, and Megan Sneyd cut down trees, removed invasive species and picked up garbage.

Despite the hard work ahead of them, the Franklin Creek Conservation Association is passionate about making the education center a reality. A timeline has been created to help keep the project running smoothly, and more volunteer days are being scheduled. Drawing on the community-minded and service-centered attitude that built the Franklin Creek Grist Mill, the Franklin Creek Conservation Association and community members are excited to see this project come to fruition.

This project would not be able to happen without community support. If you are interested in volunteering with the 1480 Project, the next workday will be held Sept. 29, from 7 a.m. to noon. No experience is necessary, and all help is welcome. It is recommended that workers bring water bottles, sturdy shoes, bug spray, sunscreen, lunch or snacks, and a can-do attitude. Contact the Franklin Creek Conservation Association at the Grist Mill 815-456-2718 for more information or to sign up to volunteer.

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