Mitchell's Grove Nature Preserve
Come visit Mitchell's Grove Nature Preserve in North Utica, IL
Mitchell’s Grove Nature Preserve is a 184-acre wooded site donated to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 1998 by William H. and Irene Mitchell. The Mitchell family’s conservation ethic has protected this unusual area since its purchase in 1879. From a geologic standpoint, Mitchell’s Grove was right in the middle of heavy glacial action, especially during the last (Wisconsin) of the Pleistocene’s glaciation events. Small as it is, the site contains evidence of glacial gouging, glacial till deposition, and boulder deposition from as far north as Canada. Additionally, a fault line extending between Utica and Oregon, IL is present near Mitchell’s Grove. The north-facing, shaded cliffs and bluffs of Mitchell’s Grove still contain remnant vegetation from immediate post-Pleistocene times; vegetation which today is more common in places like northern Wisconsin or Canada. Examples of such vegetation at Mitchell’s Grove include species such as white pine, northern white cedar, and swamp saxifrage. The remainder of the site is comprised of other uncommon habitats such as hill prairie, bur oak savanna, white oak-shagbark hickory savanna, and spring seep, which collectively contain over 300 species of plants, 6 of which are listed as state endangered or state threatened.