Dick Young: Our Inspiration, Our Guide!


This is the essential reference book (our “Bible,” as it were) for our Wildflower Sanctuary on the Batavia Riverwalk.

How we use this book: The plants described in the book are rated according to whether they have been proven to be true natives to Kane County and according to how common or rare they may be. So, in a scale of 1 to 10, if a plant is given a number 10, it is a true native and quite rare. A number 1 (or less) means that it is probably not native to this area and, in fact, may be so common and aggressive that it could be a danger to any natural plant community.

    In our Wildflower Sanctuary, we plant and nurture species that are rated in the upper range, and we eliminate those that are at the bottom of the scale ( — for instance, such alien invasives as Purple Loosestrife, a minus 1, and Garlic Mustard, a minus 3!!

Where to Find the Book:  The Book, 3rd Edition, is published by the Kane County Forest Preserve District and is available for $15 at the Forest Preserve Office at 1996 S. Kirk Rd. in Geneva, tel. 630-232-5980. Or send check for $15 plus $2.50 shipping charges.


   Dick grew up in this area, as did his family, and he has spent his life trying to save our rapidly shrinking remnants of native prairie, wetlands, and woodlands.

   To a remarkable extent, he succeeded as the driving force for much-increased parks, nature preserves, trails & open space in the Kane County area.  And this came at a time of explosive population growth here.

   Dick’s plant guidebooks (3 editions) have come from more than eight decades of his local “botanizing”, of finding countless biological “firsts” in all the little nooks that still preserved them and then trying to make sure that these plant treasures survived!

   He served as Environmental Director and consultant for Kane County for 35 years. Dick Young Forest Preserve is dedicated to him and to the great service he has provided by preserving so many of our natural areas and passing on the knowledge of our natural legacy to future generations.

(Note: Dick Young, in  1991, was the inspiration for the creation of our Batavia Wildflower Sanctuary, and he personally assisted us greatly in our accomplishments here.)

That plant in Tevis’ plot, Dick? Why, Sure!  It’s a Sweet-Scented-Indian-Plaintain . . . 
Cacalia Swaveolins!
Here are a few of our old snapshots of Dick with some of our volunteer gardeners!
Checking out our Woodland plants along the hillside path at the Wildflower Sanctuary —— July, 2003


NOTE: Dick Young passed away on Saturday, March 12, 2011, at age 86.