Virtual Autumn Pioneer Festival

Welcome to the Boone County Conservation District’s 39th Annual Autumn Pioneer Festival!  We want to provide this virtual experience for our community to enjoy while we cannot gather for a festival.  You can listen to all of the presentations in one sitting, or come back and listen to others as you have time.  We hope you can imagine the smell of the campfire and feel like you are at the Autumn Pioneer Festival watching one of our volunteer interpreters or staff members and that you learn a little bit more about life in the 1800s and Boone County. A hearty thank you to each of our volunteer presenters for taking the time to make this event possible!

To view any of the presentations or musical groups, select one of the videos to play by clicking the arrow icon in the center of each image. Closed Captioning can be toggled on and off by clicking the CC button on each video’s took bar.

Dan Kane: BCCD Director Welcome

Joshua Sage: Natural History of Boone County

Lloyd Bellows: Blacksmith

Chris Hubbard: Blacksmith

Ken and Alicia Downey: Pemmican & Jerky

Tom Melville: 1800 Cricket

Norm Walzer: Peg Shoemaking

George Thomas: Schoolhouse History

Fred Durrenberg: 1800 Surveyor

Diane Kane: Murray Cabin Interpreter

Don Clarke: Native-Inspired Handiwork

Corey Swanborg: Beadwork Demonstration

Scott Whitney: General Grant

Rich Hamilton: Flintknapping

Pam Stock: Newhouse Cabin Interpreter

Jack Engelsen: The Buffalo Man

Kishwaukee Ramblers: Music

February Sky: Music

We are delighted that you’ve attended our virtual Autumn Pioneer Festival, and hope that you found it interesting and informative. 

When this festival was held on the grounds of the Boone County Conservation District, we offered a way for you to assist with the cost of the Festival.

There were costs involved with creating this virtual festival as well, so if you feel that you’d like to contribute, you may choose to by clicking the button above.

Beaded Leather Pouch Workshop 11/7/2020

Join Boone CountyConservation District for a Beaded Leather Pouch Workshop with Corey Swanborg, a descendant of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

Participants will learn how to make a 3” by 9” Beaded Leather Pouch (including fringe) on Saturday, November 7, 2020, from 1-4 pm at the Roger D. Gustafson Nature Center at 603 N. Appleton Rd., Belvidere, Il 61008.  

Each participant will make their own Beaded Leather pouch to take home.

Registration is required, and seats are limited! A $35.00 non-refundable fee is required in advance for all supplies. Registration and payment deadline is October 26 at 12 pm. 

Register at

Call 815.547.7935 or email with questions.