Take a Walk in a Local Prairie

Posted & filed under Greater DuPage Chapter Events.

Sunday August 15, 2021 – Wednesday September 15, 2021

Due to our continuing concerns over the Covid-19 situation, we are canceling our scheduled Wild Ones picnic at Pat Clancy’s, which was originally scheduled for Aug. 28th. Instead, we are going to have fun in a different way!

We are asking all of you to go out over the next few weeks with your family or close friends and visit a local prairie. What we would like you to do is to take pictures of what you encounter and observe.

We already know that all of you are passionate about native plants. What we want is for you to challenge yourself by looking at our native plants in a way that perhaps you would not normally do. Look at a flower, or leaf, or seed up close and see details you may have never seen before. Look at the flowers & grasses in combinations that nature produced on its own. Look at even the smallest creatures that visit the plants. Look at the vista/horizon and see what the same plants look like at a distance. We want you to record the beautiful, the inspiring and the variety of life you may witness on the prairie.

If you can, go to the prairie a couple of times and see how it changes from week to week. Or go out to the same prairie at different times of the day to see how the same plants change in different light. What changes do you see, hear or smell?

Our hopes are that you will not only go out and enjoy the nature & wildlife around you but will learn something new and share it with your fellow DuPage Wild Ones!

Send your photos with your name, email, and your comments to: [email protected].
What we would like to accomplish is to compile enough photos to make a Zoom program for everyone to enjoy during the winter. It will be a real home-grown project!

Our board members have compiled a list of some of their favorite local prairies. Choose one of these or visit your own favorite place.
For more ideas, see our NEW Natural Areas page on the website: https://dupage.wildones.org/natural-areas/

Bluff Spring Fen, Elgin
Size: 91 acres
Directions: Bluff Spring Fen is off Bluff City Boulevard just south of Lake Street (Rte. 20), about one mile east of Highway 25. The parking lot is along Spring Grove Ave. in the Bluff City Cemetery.
See Street Map
Bluff Spring Fen includes peat soil, mark flats, lime water fens plus gravelly kames and hills, a wild variety of soils and habigs with several hundren species of native plants. It was dedicated as a State Nature Preserve in 1987.

Belmont Prairie
Size: 10 acres including 2 acres of virgin wet prairie
Directions: Take Haddow Avenue west from Belmont Road and turn right (north) on Cross Street to the small parking lot.
See Street Map
The Belmont Prairie contains more than 200 native plant species and was dedicated as the 75th State Nature Preserve in Illinois and the first one in DuPage County in 1979.

Russell R. Kirt Prairie at College of DuPage
Location: 425 Fawell Boulevard Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60137
See Campus Map
This 18-acre natural area consists of about six acres of marsh, a one-acre retention pond, 11 acres of reconstructed prairie and savanna planted between 1984 and 2000, and a quarter mile of display/seed production beds planted in 1997 along the southern boundary of the preserve. Over a half mile of trails, including a 1/6-mile wheelchair accessible stretch, allows easy access for nonconsumptive recreational use.

Springbrook Prairie, Naperville
Size: More than 1800 acres
See Street Map
The prairie covers about 6 square miles, south of 75th Street and north of 87th Street, mostly between Book Road and the Naperville-Plainfield Road. Parking lots off Naperville-Plainfield Road and off 83rd Street.
The Springbrook Prairie was mostly farms originally, so it is a planted prairie. Because of its large size and trails around the perimeter, this prairie is outstanding for its rare bird habitat. Species include short-eared owls, bobolinks, Henslow’s sparrow and marsh hawks (pictured above). Springbrook Creek meanders through the prairie and is one of the most high-quality creeks in Illinois with rare fish. Over 1150 species of native plants have been established in this prairie.

The Schulenburg Prairie at The Morton Arboretum
Size – 100+ acres
The Schulenburg Prairie is located on the West side of
The Morton Arboretum. Start at the Prairie Visitor Center, Parking 25.
See Street Map
In 1963, Ray Schulenberg began restoration of native prairie on land that had been farmed for close to a century. Today the prairie is rich in grasses and flowers, attracting myriad birds and butterflies. Mowed walking paths guide you through this beautiful landscape. Read more about the fascinating history of this restoration project on line.

West Chicago Prairie
Size – Originally 152 acres, now about 358 acres
Location: The Prairie lies south of the Illinois Prairie Path and north of Roosevelt Rd. From Roosevelt Rd. go north on Kress, east on Downs, then north on Industrial Drive to the parking lot.
See Street Map
West Chicago Prairie contains woods, savannah, mesic and wet prairie habitats, over 600 species of plants and rare animals including the Missasaug rattlesnake, meadow jumping mouse, and Blanding’s turtle (pictured above.)

Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve
Size: 85 acres
Location: The Prairie lies on the northwest corner of 31st Street and Wolf Rd. There are 3 parking bays along 31st St. plus parking at the Branzosenbusch Prairie House on Constitution Drive off Wolf Rd. on the north side of the Prairie.
See Street Map
Wolf Road Prairie is mostly virgin black-soil prairie with some wetland. It has over 300 native species and was dedicated as a State Nature Preserve in 1983. You can walk on the old sidewalks through the southern part of this prairie, a remnant of a planned subdivision which was never built, thanks to local activists who fought to save the prairie.

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