white oak Fox River Forested Fen Forest Preserve

Elgin Township

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This preserve is the District’s acquisition of 27 acres of the former Fox River Country Day School land, also once called the Chicago Junior School. This preserve was acquired in 2013 through an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and the City of Elgin. It borders the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation preserve, the Fox River Trail and a future City of Elgin park.

The forested fen here is one-half of the only remaining such plant community in the State of Illinois. The other half is within the City of Elgin's Trout Park.

Dominated by white cedar, also known as arborvitae in the lower terraces, and oaks in the eastern uplands; the preserve contains seeps and swales with flowing water that remains unfrozen, even in the deep of winter.

Soon to-be-granted Illinois Nature Preserve status, the characteristic seeps and fens could not persist without a constant, clean source of groundwater welling upward through glacial gravel and bedrock seams.

So unique is this site that the nearest comparable habitats are found in the boreal forests of Minnesota and Canada.

The plant communities here have been disturbed since settlement times, yet they present us with a glimpse of the ancient Illinois landscape shortly after glacial retreat. The District plans to focus on habitat restoration at this property.

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