Sunday, July 4, 2010

Where the Buffalo Roam...

Munson Township Cemetery, 1300N and 1300E, 2 miles North of Cambridge IL. Five acres of native prairie plants including the Federally designated endangered fringed orchid. The annual walk was the last weekend in June but it is open to the public during daylight hours.

Heartland Prairie at Gordon Moore Park, Route 140, Alton, Illinois.
Features 150 prairie wildflowers & nine species of native prairie grass native to Madison Co and neighboring Illinois areas.
Open during park hours on Tuesdays April 13 through October 26, 2010 . Meet at the trailhead, located across from the main entrance to the park & make a right at the first road. Field guides provided. Wear comfortable shoes for this 1/2 miles walk and tick repellent. Bring camera and binoculars.

Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, 4295 North 1000th Street, Newton, IL 62448 (618-783-2685) Call for admission details.
A unique site in Illinois, dedicated to conserving the rarest members of Illinois’ native tallgrass prairie and marsh communities. It offers one of the most spectacular viewing opportunities for grassland wildlife in Illinois. The number of endangered species found at PRSNA is very high, and great care is taken to ensure the continued protection and presence of these species. As a result access to the interior portions of this site is restricted and wildlife viewing is limited to roadsides. Roadside viewing is often excellent for prairie-chickens, loggerhead shrikes, northern harriers, short-eared owls and dickcissels. By arrangement, groups and individuals can be given a tour of the site by site staff. The Illinois Audubon Society’s environmental educational area, known as the Robert Ridgway Grassland Nature Preserve, is open on an daily basis for wildlife viewing and hiking. This area has been restored to prairie and has a self guided interpretive trail and a wildlife viewing platform over looking a wetland surrounded by native prairie plants.

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, approximately 55 miles south of Chicago, was established as the nation’s first tallgrass prairie in 1996 after the U.S. Army decommissioned the Joliet Arsenal at the site. Many areas of Midewin are open to the public. Visitors can enjoy more than 22 miles of open trails, escorted tours, volunteer events, and deer and turkey hunting. The Forest Service’s Welcome Center is located at 30239 S. Route 53 in Wilmington IL. For more information, visit www.

Taltree Arboretum: This 360-acre arboretum is located south of Valparaiso, Indiana. The arboretum offers beautiful trails that wind through woods and prairie which has been replenished with local and naturally grown plants, that would have been around when settlers originally came to the area. Taltree also offers a vast array of events, such as live music during the late spring and early summer.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana. Visit the National Park Service website for additional Dunes information. Following are Dunes sites and their attractions.
West Beach: dunes, woods, prairie, beach, Long Lake ponds
Bailly-Chellberg: historical structures, woods, river
Little Calumet River: woods, river, floodplain, old fields
Calumet Dune: woods, dunes
Cowles Bog: marsh, woods, dunes, ponds beach
Heron Rookery: woods, river, floodplain
Hoosier Prairie: wet prairie
Inland Marsh: marsh, woods, dunes
Ly-co-ki-we: woods, marsh
Miller Woods: dunes, ponds, woods, beach
Mt. Baldy: dunes, woods, vistas, beach
Pinhook Bog: classic bog plants (scheduled tours only)
Dune Ridge: woods, dunes vistas
Calumet Bike Trail: rugged trail along edge of woods and prairie
State Park: trails, dunes, beach, marsh, woods

All public gardens should be treated with respect: stay on paths, do not pick flowers, plants or seeds, do not leave trash, do not spray insecticide on yourself in the gardens. When you leave, the gardens and prairies should not have evidence of your presence. Many sites have "rules" so either call or visit their websites for information.

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