What is a Prairie?
A prairie is a close-to-treeless grassland with native plants found in North America. Grasslands with native vegetation on other continents go by other names (steppe, pampas, veldt). The ‘sea of grass’ and endless horizon associated with prairies by pioneers is no longer found in Illinois. Some large prairies still exist in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Prairies are rare in the ‘Prairie State’. Most Illinois prairies were destroyed by the plow, but even those that were not rarely maintain presettlement plant communities because the suppression of fire has resulted in encroachment by woody plants. Treeless areas that are not dominated by native prairie plants are more appropriately called old fields.
Prairie (4.01 acres)
Rare Grade A remnant mesic tall grass prairie, featuring over 140 species native to Illinois.
Developed (0.32 acre)
Educational interpretive center is located on the southwest corner of site.
Sedge Meadow/Wet Prairie (0.94 acre)
Five ephemeral wetland pockets located among the unique remnant mesic prairie.