Springdale Cemetery Savanna

Place Category: Attractions, Ecology, Geology, Nature & Outdoor Recreation, Birding, and Nature Sites

  • Profile

    In the heart of Springdale Cemetery, one of central Illinois’ largest and most historic cemeteries, there is a small remnant of native tallgrass oak savanna. This increasingly rare ecological community once dominated the bluffs overlooking the Illinois River in the Peoria area. A dedicated group of volunteers is restoring this degraded savanna, work that involves cutting woody brush, seed collecting and sowing, educating, and periodic prescribed burning. The Springdale savanna was created about 8,000 years ago following the recession of the last glaciers from the region and the significant warming of the climate. At that time the entire Peoria region was a patchwork of prairies, savannas, and open woodlands. This gorgeous cemetery also includes steep forested bluffs, tree-lined creeks, and a picturesque park like atmosphere that is a magnate for migrating warblers, vireos, and other songbirds. A variety of owls are heard at dusk and several species of woodpeckers are heard drumming on the ancient trees.

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