A Little Time and a Keyboard: A Summer Walk at Flint Creek Savanna {Lake Barrington}

A Summer Walk at Flint Creek Savanna {Lake Barrington}

Saturday, June 13, 2015

We are always looking for new places to hike and ways to enjoy the splendors that nature has created. When I learned that Flint Creek Savanna in Lake Barrington is only open for public hikes the first Sunday afternoon of the month June-September, I knew that I had to jump on my chance to visit the preserve. Last Sunday, we braved thunderstorm threats for a little nature exploration. As luck would have it, we had a peaceful time exploring without rain!

Flint Creek Savanna is an impressive  and active restoration effort bringing back native species to this parcel of Illinois. The restoration is volunteer driven and the passion of the volunteers is immediately recognized not only by the richness of the natural habitat but also by the amount of knowledge they enjoy imparting on others.

For our walk, we were greeted by a volunteer and provided with instruction. The monthly walks are self-guided and you can enhance your visit by using a QR code scanner to access videos explaining more about the preserve and the wildlife you may encounter. The most enriching for us were the videos focusing on the wildlife that may be present at the preserve. We are working on improving our bird identification so this was helpful!

Bring your charged phone with a QR code scanner!
On our journey, we saw tree swallows, an egret, a blue heron, a cormorant, red-winged blackbirds, sparrows galore and more!

This is egret kept flying away anytime we tried to take a picture!
The prairie was alive with sprigs of color. Particularly plentiful were bright blue spiderwort flowers! Each month, different wildflowers will come to the forefront. If you are fortunate enough to experience multiple walks, it will be quite interesting to witness the change of landscape.

The Flint Creek Savanna is involved in a partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden in which the Chicago Botanic Garden provides seeds from rare native plants that conservationists are trying to reintroduce to the preserve. There is an area where you can see the outdoor nursery where these plants are being grown. Very interesting and an excellent way to admire the beauty of prairie plants!

Plants to be re-introduced to the prairie!
As you can see, Flint Creek Savanna is nestled among houses. The preserve began as a conservation effort in 1988 to save the area from development. The natural oasis has been expanded a couple of times since then and is such a tranquil place to walk and observe wildlife. The original preserve consisted of 33 acres and has since expanded to 146 acres! We are so grateful to have this breathtaking refuge!

Things to know:

  • Flint Creek Savanna is currently open for free self-guided tours the first Sunday of the month 1PM-4PM through September.
  • The walk is probably better suited for older children. Some areas feature tall grasses which will be difficult for strollers and I honestly would also advise against strollers to preserve the naturalness of the area.
  • Be sure to bring a charged phone with a QR code scanner to take advantage of the videos.
  • Take precautions to avoid ticks. As with any preserve walk, make sure to do thorough checks once home.
  • Flint Creek Savanna is located at 459 W. Hwy 22 in Lake Barrington.
  • Enjoy!

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