This black soil savanna is among the rarest places on Earth. Almost lost to the ages, it was rediscovered and restored to health. Now abounding with life, this preserve proves in one visit the benefits of saving places like this.
- A magical expanse of rich black oak savanna, woodland, and wetland
- Wildlife abounds
- July: Displays of leadplant and rattlesnake master
- August: Sunflowers shine across the woodland
Best Times to Visit:
May through September for wildflowers throughout the preserve
Trails: Soil / Narrow / Not suitable for people with poor balance or eyesight
Restrooms: Portable (parking area)
Mike’s Thoughts: The edges of Somme Prairie Grove include several stands of oak woodland. But in the center, the preserve opens up into an area dense with prairie plants and a sprinkling of oaks. For a long time, I mistook it for prairie; but it’s actually tallgrass (or black soil) savanna, a habitat where trees are widely dispersed and many plants and animals characteristic of this rare ecosystem are found.
This botanically diverse site attracts all kinds of wildlife. Many distinctive bird species feed and nest here; orchard oriole, indigo bunting, and eastern kingbird let their voices be heard. Even the amphibians have a voice in the matter when, in spring, chorus frogs drown out the din of nearby traffic.
Notes: Park at Somme Woods. Then take the trail west to cross Waukegan Road (Rt. 43) and into Somme Prairie Grove.
Learn more about Somme Prairie Grove from these websites:
© 2016 – 2017, Mike MacDonald. All rights reserved.