Department of Biological Sciences
Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Research Station
Alice Kibbe had a dream of starting a field station at the site to promote teaching and research in field biology and ecology. Her ideals of promoting teaching, research and conservation are the cornerstones on which the Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Station has been built.
Download Kibbe Trail Map (pdf)
Dr. Kibbe was a well-known botanist. She was Department Chair and Professor of Botany in the Biology Department at Carthage College from 1920 to 1956. Carthage College was located in Carthage Illinois, which is 18.5 miles east of the Station on US Highway 136. Dr. Kibbe purchased 115 acres in Hancock County, where she often took her students. Dr. Kibbe donated this land to Western Illinois University in 1964. Western Illinois University later purchased some adjacent land for a total of about 222 acres, which is the Kibbe Station.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources owns 1458 acres adjacent to the Station that comprises Cedar Glen Natural Area and Sand Hills Nature Preserve. The total 1680 acres comprise the Kibbe Macro (KM) site. Macro sites are large areas recognized by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as containing large tracts of ecologically significant native terrestrial and/or aquatic resources.
The Kibbe Macro Site contains uplands oak-dominated woodlands, sand hills with xeric sand prairie, limestone outcroppings/bluffs, hill prairies, mature floodplain forest and three miles of shoreline along the Mississippi River. Rocky intermittent streams are found in the valleys and glens.
The site represents the largest piece of continuous landscape in the area. The area is a major wintering site for one of the largest concentrations of bald eagles in North America. Many of these eagles utilize a terrace forest in Cedar Glen Natural Area as a night roost. The adjacent section of the Mississippi River is a major flyway for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Pileated woodpeckers and a variety of other bird species nest and feed in the woodlands and prairies along the bluffs.
The Department of Biological Sciences at Western Illinois University began conducting summer classes in 1966, and has held summer sessions at the site ever since. Housing for undergraduate students and graduate students is provided in our multi-use/dormitory facility at the station, which includes full kitchen and shower facilities. Staying at the Station allows students to immerse themselves in field activities and research.
This nature preserve, which is home to a diversity of plant and animal species, provides students with hands-on experience in field research, as well as offering the general public an opportunity to commune with nature.