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
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...
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.
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.
Below: south part of the Lakefront Bird Trail. Note that songbirds are significant in Burnham.
Below: Compass Plant and ice sickles with gulls adorn this exit sign.