Founded by the late Bill and Hazel Rutherford in 1978, Wildlife Prairie State Park marks its 30th anniversary
in 2008. The 2,000-acre zoological park has become a tourist destination and environmental education center for central Illinois, having been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people over the years. Visitors are drawn to Wildlife Prairie State Park to see a variety of animals indigenous to Illinois—more than 150 different species—as well as the park’s beautiful landscape and unique amenities, such as its relaxing train ride.

Although the park is funded in part by the state of Illinois, it takes much more than that to run the park on a daily basis. To this end, The Friends of Wildlife group will help to raise the extra money needed for the park’s continued operation by hosting a celebration and fundraiser at the Peoria Civic Center on April 25th.

The event will begin with cocktails at 5:30, followed by the program and dinner at 6:30. The evening will be informal, with casual attire that is “forest friendly.” Lots of fun will be had as different aspects of the park are brought to the Civic Center, and Jeff Corwin—conservationist, outdoorsman and host of The Jeff Corwin Experience on the Animal Planet—gives the keynote address. Unique items will be auctioned off in both live and silent auctions, and the first Rutherford Family Conservation Award, sponsored by Farnsworth Group, will be awarded. Tickets are $150 per person or tables of eight for $1,200. Table sponsorships are $1,500, and other sponsorships are available.

If you are interested in attending the 30th anniversary celebration of the Wildlife Prairie State Park, call 676-0998. For more information or sponsorship opportunities, contact Kelly Stickelmaier at 258-9079. a&s