Burnham Nature Sanctuary home

Burnham Nature Sanctuary via its signs

This page is presented by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its website www.hydepark.org and Parks Committee, with cooperation from the Burnham Sanctuary Volunteers, Site Steward George Davis. Join the Conference.

In 2004-05, new signage was installed in Burnham Nature Sanctuary, north of 47th to 44th between the Drive and the Metra/Canadian National tracks (once the shoreline). Here is a walk through the Sanctuary via its signs, which set forth the purposes, a bit of history and context, and visitor guidelines. Missing is signage for the woods, which make up at least half the site. Plan to join the Volunteers on quarterly Solstice and Equinox Walks (Sundays) and monthly workdays--there are usually good explainers and plant/bird identifiers along.

Photos Gary Ossewaarde, June 2005

Sign about prairie path going through butterfly meadow, woodland edge, prairie and pseudowetand praires. This area is important to birds, butterflies, insects, reptiles.... This is an attempt to fulfil part of Burnham's plan. Sign discusses visitor guidelines an shows buterlies on plants, a northern cardinal, and a  1935 area of this part of the lakefdront..

Above: Welcome sign at the south entry, which is a test patch for plants and a butterfly garden, with grass meadow and prairie beyond. The wetland prairie with boardwalk are in the distance at about 2 o'clock, the woodlands ahead at about 11 o'clock. The sign notes the butterfly garden/meadow, woodland edge, and prairie recreations, sources of food and shelter for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The sign also places the sanctuary in the context of Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan for Chicago and its lakefront (see Burnham Timeline page.) Right is a 1935 area of the south lakefront. Center sulphur (?) butterflies on purple flowers. Right a Northern Cardinal. Visitor Guidelines stress dogs on leash, no straying or picking plants, no litter...

Burnham Prairie sign, "planted and maintianed by the Volunteers"

Below: signs explain the prairie and prairie gardens, here largely of forbs, although there is plenty of grass, especially rye seeded by schoolchildren and other volunteers and by staff. Especially not little bluestem, switch grass, New England aster (pictured at bottom) , blazing star, butterflyweed (pictured at center). The sign notes that Illinois was heart and soul of the tallgrass prairie, but the new plow came along with the settlers and over 99 percent of the prairie was destroyed.

Illinoie forb prairie planting--almost all gone now. Pics of butterflyweed, tallgrass prairie, and a purple aster.


Prairie Garden habitat landscping (using native plants): little bluestem switch grass, yellow coneflower, blazing star. 6 blocks to west was dune shore with prairie starting west of there.

Below: about controlled burns. However, these have been abandoned for now in Burnham due to smoke carry to Lake Shore Drive, and budget constraints/lack of contractor.

Controlled burn rationale; burns not done now.

Below: south part of the Lakefront Bird Trail. Note that songbirds are significant in Burnham.

South part of the Lakefdront Bird Trail

Below: Compass Plant and ice sickles with gulls adorn this exit sign.

Exit thank you sign showing compass plant, icesickles and gullls