The Illinois tall-grass
prairie supported an abundant of wildlife but within a few short
generations of Euro-American settlers' arrival, over 99% of this biologically
diverse landscape had been altered by agriculture and urbanization. Although
Illinois still is known as the "Prairie State," less than 0.01% of
Illinois' original 21 million acres of prairie remains. What once was a vast sea
of rich prairie now survives only as tiny, isolated patches. Many species of
prairie plants and animals have either disappeared or are in rapid decline due
to loss of habitat.
One area that is being preserved is
the nearly 300-acre tract Olin Nature Preserve along the Mississippi River
bluffs. The property was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1990 and
was deeded to the Nature Institute in 1995. It is one of the largest privately
owned nature preserves in the state. The preserve harbors 374 native plant
species and provides habitat to nearly 150 species of birds at different times
of the year, including neo-tropical migrant species and the American Bald Eagle.
Marked trails give the visitor splendid views of the Mississippi River from the
hill prairie, and a view of the Mississippi flood plain.
The Nature Institute's volunteer
restoration efforts at the preserve have increased over the years. Dedicated
groups of volunteers have removed invading exotic species, conducted controlled
burns, and helped restore the forest, savanna, and hill prairie to its original
Illinois State Nature Preserves are
limited to walking, birding, and photography. Camping, picnicking, littering,
pets, and vehicles are not allowed inside any preserve. All plants, animals,
birds, and insects are protected in these preserves, so do not disturb or remove
any natural objects including rocks, plants, seeds, or insects.
Visiting the Olin Nature
Open dawn to dusk
from March 16 - November 14
There is no charge to visit the Olin Nature
get to the John M. Olin Preserve follow W. Delmar Avenue (Route 3) in Godfrey
west if you are coming from Alton or east if you are coming from Jersey County
to Levis Lane. Follow Levis Lane towards the Mississippi River to S. Levis Lane
and on to the Preserve and The Nature Institute.
N 38 55.122
W 90 13.464
more about the Godfrey area.
For additional information visit www.thenatureinstitute.org
, the official website of the John M. Olin Preserve and The Nature Institute.