Here a rare savanna ecosystem lies between Somme Prairie (to the west) and Somme Woods (to the east). Groves of bur oaks interspersed with grassy, flowery openings host species not found in either prairies or woodlands. Look for orchard orioles, eastern kingbirds, savanna blazing stars, and rare to uncommon butterflies, dragonflies, and other small animals that depend on this rare habitat. Here, dedicated volunteers accomplished what some said was impossible – bringing the rare tallgrass savanna back to thriving health. Since restoration work began in 1980, the quality ecosystem has expanded from scattered fragments to about half of this site’s 85 acres. It is considered one of the finest examples of an ecosystem brought back from the brink. As chronicled in the book, Miracle Under the Oaks by William K. Stevens, Somme Prairie Grove is a sanctuary, not just for wild things, but for people too. When you’re here, it’s easy to forget you’re in the middle of one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. Breathe in the fresh air, listen for the mating calls of rare birds, and feast your eyes on more than four hundred rare or uncommon plant species that call this savanna home.
Steward: Stephen Packard
Address: 2110 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Il 60062