Black Oak Sand Savanna with Showy GoldenrodLast week, Vincent and I had to go up to the conference center at Illinois Beach State Park to make a presentation to the board of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. We were (successfully) seeking approval for a permit to release Silver-bordered Fritillaries onto the nature preserve at Gensburg-Markham Prairie (something that is now done). I have made presentations to this board before, and in common with my previous experiences I found something that sounds very bureaucratic is actually a reasonably pleasant process.
Ecotone between the Oak Savanna and a SwaleAfter our presentation at the meeting, Vincent and I went off for a walk into the park. Illinois Beach is a very large (4,160 acres) remnant of native Lake Michigan shoreline. Vincent had never been to this park before, and I enjoyed introducing him to this amazing spot. The day was cloudy and misty, and had a decidedly melancholic autumnal feel to it.
swale complex. The Dead River occupies one of the swales. It gets its name because it is usually separated from Lake Michigan by a sand bar. Periodically, pressure in the river builds up, and the water overflows the sand bar and empties into the lake.
Sky Blue AsterWe were treated to an array of autumn wildflowers as we walked. Illinois Beach State Park is in my top five natural areas in Illinois that I recommend visiting.