New Members

If you need any assistance or information about your membership please call 815-627-0343 or email

What to Expect at Your First Meeting

  • When you arrive, go to the registration table, pick up your name badge and circle your name on the sign-in sheet. Your name badge has a green ribbon attached with "New Member." You will have this for the first year. Please put you name badge in the collection containers at the exits from the meeting room.
  • Before and after the meeting you will have the opportunity to meet other members and browse the lending library, chapter literature, merchandise table and have refreshments.
  • Doors open for socializing at 6:30 p.m. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. with about 10 minutes of welcoming remarks and announcements by the President. The speaker presentation follows immediately and lasts approximately 1 hour.

Comfortable and functional seating in the meeting room at Rock Valley College.

What to Expect from Your Chapter

Schedule of Events

The schedule of events can be found on the Calendar page.

The chapter offers the following events each year.

  • Nine free public meetings with speaker presentations held on the third Thursday of the month, except December.
  • Two social events for members only. They are held the third Thursday of the month in July and November.
  • Two to four Show Me/Help Days held on weekends during the late spring and summer.
  • Three native plants sales: woodland and prairie plants in April, and trees & shrubs in August.
  • Every two years, we hold a native plant lecture and yard tours for the public in July.

Keeping You Informed

Monthly Email
All members with email addresses receive 3-4 emails each month.

  • Monthly newsletter which is usually sent the first Friday.
  • Upcoming meeting and events which is usually sent the second Friday.

Annual Email

  • Native Woodland Plant Sale notice in late February.
  • Native Prairie Plant Sale notice in early March.
  • Native Tree & Shrub Sale notice in late July or early August.
  • Show Me/Help Me Day notice, 2-4 times during the late spring and summer.
  • Special event, maybe one per year.
  • Meeting cancellations due to severe weather (rare).

Email Process

We use Constant Contact to send our emails. The newsletter and monthly message are sent from The emails give you a link to download newsletters and brochures from our website so that we do not fill up your email box with attachments. Constant Contact also gives you the option to opt out of receiving emails from us.

Opting out. Every email sent has the option for you to opt out of receiving any email from our chapter. Just click the "SafeUnsubscribe" link at the bottom of the email. However, if you opt out, you will receive NO email from us including important membership renewal reminders unless you opt in again. We highly recommend that you do not opt out. If you opt out by accident or change your mind, please request to be sent the link to opt in.

All printed versions of our publications are printed in black only and the email versions are in full color.

Chapter Newsletter

Eleven issues of the newsletter are published January through November. You are encouraged to request to receive the full color version via email as a PDF file. Paper newsletters are mailed seven to ten days before the meeting.

Plant Sale Brochures

Three plant sale brochures for the Native Woodland, Prairie and Tree & Shrub sales are produced.

  • Native Woodland Plant Sale notice in late February.
  • Native Prairie Plant Sale notice in early March.
  • Native Tree & Shrub Sale notice in late July or early August.

Annual Membership Roster

The roster is included in the January newsletter and includes your name, city, state, zip code, phone, email address and the date you joined. You may ask to be not be published in the roster by contacting the Membership Coordinator. You cannot use the roster for commercial purposes.

New Member Packet Contents:
For your convenience, listed below is the contents of the New Member Packet that is mailed to all new members. The list is updated regularly so the most current version is available to you for reference.

Welcome letter
Book certificate for Bringing Nature Home with explanation letter
New member survey with #9 labeled return envelope
Map to meeting at Rock Valley College
Event Schedule
List of Board of Directors, Chairs and Coordinators with chapter email addresses
Membership roster
Chapter website explanation handout
National Website Members Only Login instructions
Why Plant the Natives? article by Constance McCarthy
Recommended book list, updated by Ginnie Watson, originally by Fran Lowman 2006
Merchandise flyer
New Member Handbook information
Chapter newsletter

Information about the National Website for Members Only

The Wild Ones Member Page is where you can download the top Journal articles, update your personal membership information, access the current and back issues of the Journal and vote for photo contest entries.

You will have to set up an account before you can enter the Members Only page on the National website. Download the instructions for creating an account on the national website.