top of page

History and Accomplishments of The Friends of Moraine Hills State Park


Our grassroots organization began in 2007 as we met at the home of one of our organizers. The preservation of Moraine Hills State Park is our focus. The Friends obtained status as a 501c3 organization in 2010. We promote citizen awareness of the local natural heritage through park programs and special events.

Through grants, donations and volunteer work, we have been involved with many improvements for park visitors. Some of the improvements you can find in the park are shown below. Look for them as you visit both the main park and the McHenry Dam day use area.

The most recent improvement is the completion of an osprey observation area along the trail accessible from the Oak Opening parking lot!


As you approach the park entrance, notice the native prairie across the street, which is also park property. The Friends were directly involved with its restoration. 

Walk through the restored habitat in Osprey Meadows and the Fox Hollow Nature Trail.

Watch for magnificent ospreys as they soar overhead hunting for fish. See if you can spot their young on the nesting platforms* at Lake Defiance and McHenry Dam.

 Stop by the Nature Center!**

In the summer, you can watch the honeybees in the glass enclosed beehive. Their honey is usually sold at the Run for the Hills race in October.

While you're at the Nature Center, check out the display exhibits.  The Friends were directly involved with producing one of the display cabinets, and the new flooring.

     Watch for the numerous bluebird boxes and their residents!  The Friends supplied the building materials.

​Get information about programs and events from the information kiosks and learn about park features from outdoor interpretive signage. If you're the first to send a photo of the kiosk information to at the beginning of the month, you could win $5. Read the kiosks to find out! 

While walking the Defiance Lake Trail, relax on the covered bench overlooking the lake.

Hiking the Leatherleaf Bog Trail? Find out about this threatened species from the interpretive sign above the bog.

The Friends have had direct involvement with many more contributions for the park, such as procuring security cameras, planting native trees, and obtaining needed maintenance equipment for park staff.

Moraine Hills State Park always needs more Friends. A Friend of the park can simply give a monetary donation, or have fun while helping us at one of our events. To find what's happening, check the "Calendar, Events and Programs " page; to become a Friend, click here. Thanks!


 *Image courtesy of Feather Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center

**The Nature Center is open when we have volunteer docents available, which is usually from April through mid-November,

Fridays through Sundays. Times are 10:00 - 3:30. Call ahead to be sure at 815-385-1624.

bottom of page