THOMSON, Ill. — Joan Scott, a local artist and longtime member of the Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge formally known as Palisades Chapter of Friends of Upper Miss, presented the new logo to the Stewards at the Feb. 20 meeting.

The Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge is a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental education, creating quality wildlife habitats and enhancing the public’s understanding and enjoyment of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The logo for the group is a yellow-headed blackbird hanging on to cattails. The yellow-headed blackbird was chosen because it is a wetland dependent bird that is endangered in Illinois.

This species was an abundant resident a century ago, but since that time, it’s population has declined sharply. Yellow-headed blackbirds currently are found in small numbers in only a few populations east of the Mississippi River. One of the largest of these populations is in northern Illinois, in the marshes of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

However, these marshes are under constant development pressure and the Illinois yellow-headed blackbird population has decreased at an approximate rate of eight percent a year over the past 20 years. A small population makes their home in Spring Lake among the cattail.