Restored Native Prairie at Historic Corron Farm
1835 Campton Township settler, Robert Corron, bore witness to the great tallgrass prairie that once covered 22 million acres in Illinois. Within that large ecosystem were dry and wet grasslands, sedge meadows, prairie groves with trees, sand savannas, wetlands, and other natural communities. More than 300 species of plants, 60 mammal species, 300 bird species, and 1,000 insect species have called this division their home over the millennia.
Most of the land in Kane County was once prairie before it was farmed and later developed by European settlers who came to the area. Illinois is nicknamed the Prairie State, but experts say little of its original prairie remains. “We have such little high-quality prairie left in Illinois, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the original tallgrass prairie,” said Eric Smith, a District Natural Heritage Biologist with IDNR.
Campton Township and the Corron Farm Preservation Society share a commitment to preserve and restore tallgrass prairie and woodlands at Historic Corron Farm. One of the most significant features of Corron Farm is the abundance of native plants and natural communities from wetland to savanna to woodland to prairie. After the farm became part of the Campton Township Open Space Program in 2001, the cropland was planted to the prairie. The Township manages the land to encourage the growth of native trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers by burning, invasive species control, and planting native species. These native plants provide the necessary conditions for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife native to northern Illinois.
Near the barns, there is an area of raised beds that showcase native prairie wildflowers. Native trees and shrubs such as hazelnut, indigo bush, and meadowsweet have been planted near the picnic area. Many trees have been planted in honor of special people or in memory of loved ones. A system of trails allows visitors to enjoy the various natural communities. Here you can see tall prairie grasses such as big bluestem, Indian grass, and switchgrass, as well as prairie flowers including wild bergamot, milkweed, coneflowers, asters, goldenrods, compass plant, cup plant, and rosinweed. In the spring, shooting stars and wild hyacinth are a special treat.