Wolf Road Prairie: Morning Tour
Save the Prairie Society, 11225 Constitution Dr., Westchester, IL, 60154 Map
Join Save the Prairie Society leaders for a Father's Day morning tour.
Meet at 10 a.m at the Prairie House.
Designated an Illinois Nature Preserve, Wolf Road Prairie contains several native communities, including mesic prairie, mesic savanna and wetland. It is home to more than 360 native plant species. The resident migratory birds, amphibians, insects, butterflies and mammals are too numerous to count. In combination, the ecosystem features of the site make for a one-of-a-kind natural area, unlike any in the world. The prairie remnant at Wolf Road Prairie is considered the largest and best quality black soil or mesic prairie east of the Mississippi River. The wetland on site is considered of high aquatic quality.
The story behind the prairie’s rescue matches its distinctive ecosystem. In the 1920s, plans were in place for a residential development with 600 lots platted and sidewalks laid. The Great Depression and the financial collapse of its developer, the electric utility magnate Samuel Insull, brought it all to a halt. Decades later, when development efforts resurfaced, four citizens stepped up to save the prairie: a high school teacher, a garden club member, a history lover, and a birder. Their work and commitment, contacting and convincing reluctant owners to sell, led to the Illinois Nature Preserve and the Forest Preserve of Cook County purchasing the all the lots, saving the prairie.
Plants you can expect to see in bloom: Prairie Phlox, Yellow Star Grass, Hoary Puccoon, Monkey Flower, Blue Eyed Grass, False Dragon Head, Prairie Violet, Pale Spike Lobelia, Meadow Anemone, Golden Alexander, Shooting Star, Prairie Lily, Prairie Rose, and more.
Tour guides will be Lawrence Godson and Rita McCabe. Lawrence Godson is President of the Save the Prairie Society and an export on its history, plants, and insects, and a 20-year steward of Wolf Road Prairie. Rita McCabe has been a steward of the prairie for 19 years, learning from leaders and observing its ecosystem along the way.
Please register for this free program.
Photos by Stephanie Walquist