Activities in the Nature Study Area

400,000,000 years ago – Tropical Silurian Sea occupies Central United States with extensive coral reefs Age of bedrock
1,600,000 years ago – Glaciers advance through most of Illinois
8,000-10,000 years ago – Glaciers retreat from area. Lake Chicago occupies area Beach ridges form
8,000 years ago to present – Mother Earth activities continue
1974 – Moraine Valley Board of Trustees establishes Nature Study Area
1975 – Wildlife tree/shrub perimeter planted
1976 to present – Prairie reconstructed and rehabilitated
1977 – Pond establishment. Archaeological studies/site registered
1978 – Wetland habitat established
April 22, 1990 – Earth Day 20th anniversary celebration
1990 – Nature Study Area rededicated
1991 – Wetland restoration completed
1992 – Sullivan Spring cleanup. G. Jack Bradley Observation Deck constructed
1993 – New pier built on pond
1994 – Wood duck nest boxes installed in pond
1995 – Buckthorn eradication. Trail closures
1996 – Additional prairie planting. Second pond established
2001 – Nature Study Area rededicated. West parking lot established. Schulenberg inventory of prairie
2003 – Observatory added to observation deck. Selected prairie sites rehabilitated
2005 – New inventory and assessment of prairie grasses and forbs begins (ongoing, annual inventory)
2008 – Prescribed prairie burn. Dragonfly monitoring begins
2009 – Prescribed prairie burn. Removal of invasive European Buckthorn
2010 – Construction of rain garden. Bur oak tree planted by east entrance. Frog monitoring begins. Honey bee population abundance and diversity study begins. Installation of bird observation and feeding station near Jack Bradley Deck
2012 – Removal of invasive European buckthorn. PhragNet research project begins

Other Activities Completed

Past—Scientific analysis of site as to
• soil types and characteristics
• plant communities
• animal populations
• hydrology
• geology
• ecological investigations
• clean out of Sullivan Spring
• chemical analysis of pond environment
• growth studies of pond inhabitants
• mapped bottom contour of pond
• made and erected signs identifying area
• established beehive
• constructed and erected bird nesting boxes
• instituted a program of controlling undesirable species


  • periodic grass/forb planting
  • periodic mow to eliminate competition
  • annual prescribed burns
  • annual litter collection
  • scientific study by students and staff
  • periodic tours by grade school and high school classes, garden clubs, senior citizens groups, and other community groups


  • continue present activities
  • establish walking path

Prairie Restoration