Welcome to the Local Habitats page for the Nature Preserve Foundation. Here, we’ll explore the various habitats that exist in our region and the unique wildlife that calls them home.
One of the most iconic and widespread habitats in Illinois is the prairie. These vast grasslands once covered over 60% of the state but have since been drastically reduced due to agriculture and urbanization. Prairie ecosystems are home to a diverse array of plants, including tallgrass prairie species like big bluestem and switchgrass, and wildflowers like purple coneflower and blazing star. These plants provide important habitat for prairie animals, including prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows, and prairie voles.
Forests are another important habitat in Illinois. They cover about 15% of the state and are home to a diverse array of wildlife. Illinois forests are dominated by oak and hickory trees, but also include maples, beeches, and birches. These forests provide habitat for many mammals, including white-tailed deer, foxes, and raccoons. They are also home to many species of birds, including woodpeckers, owls, and warblers.
Illinois is also home to many wetland habitats, including marshes, swamps, and bogs. These areas are characterized by standing water and are important for filtering pollutants, reducing flooding, and providing habitat for many species. Wetlands are home to a variety of aquatic plants, including cattails, water lilies, and duckweed. They also provide habitat for amphibians like frogs and salamanders, as well as birds like herons and egrets.
Prairie, wetlands, and forests are just a few of the many habitats that can be found in Illinois. Each of these habitats is home to a unique set of plants and animals and plays an important role in the health of our ecosystem. By protecting these habitats, we can help ensure that Illinois remains a diverse and thriving place for generations to come.