ComEd Prairie Conversion



Located in Prospect Heights under the power lines just north of Palatine Road. The prairie is Bounded by Elmhurst Road on the east, Stonegate Drive / Wildwood Drive on the north, Schoenbeck Road on the west and Andover Drive on the south. The prairie is bisected into east and west sections by Sherwood Drive. The Prospect Heights bike path parallels the prairie to the east and west. Parking is on Sherwood Drive or at Somerset Park.




The ComEd Prairie is a conversion from mowed turf grass to a prairie with more than 103 prairie species. and the hundreds of pollinators and birds that enjoy it.




4.79 Acres




PHNRC conversion of the ComEd Prairie began in 2014, with our first ComEd Green Regions grant, matched by the Park District and the City of Prospect Heights. The funding was split between the Prospect Heights Slough restoration and the start up of the ComEd prairie project. At the start, the entire site was nothing more than ecologically useless turf grass that demanded endless maintenance.


Historically, based on the original land surveys, the project area was mostly prairie, interspersed with sloughs and small creeks.  Early aerial photographs and land use history however, indicate that the land has been plowed and farmed. Therefore, any native vegetation or remaining seed bank was highly unlikely along most of the bike trail path.


Years in the making, prescribed burns, plantings, seeding and thousands of volunteer hours make it what you see today.


Public education is a critical component of this project’s success. This project provides an opportunity to increase environmental awareness for children and the surrounding communities.


Goals of the project were


• To increase biodiversity in open land adjacent to the bike trail and right of way through the reintroduction of native vegetation.


• To provide a wildlife corridor linking important remaining natural areas, in order to facilitate migration and breeding of many species of wildlife, as well as provide much needed food and shelter.


• To increase the aesthetic value of the current bike trail for Prospect Heights residents and local communities.


• To educate the public and increase environmental awareness.


• To encourage volunteer involvement, community building and stewardship of natural areas.




This is a place for exploration, imagination, science, observation, exercise, the enjoyment of nature and fun!. The Prairie is divided into an east and a west sections by Sherwood Avenue. There are nature trails in both sections. Depending on where you are on the trails, the prairie can change dramatically. The far west end of the west  prairie is much dryer and as a result, the vegetation is shorter and the types of plants are those that favor the dryer conditions.


No mater where you are, pollinators rule the day! The prairie offers you the opportunity to see hundreds of pollinators up close and personal. The wide-open sky invites panoramas that are perfect for watching a storm roll in, sunset or sunrises, cloud spotting or stargazing. The biodiversity of plant species will provide the perfect backdrop to the onslaught of butterflies in the summer.  You will be amazed at what you can see.





The ComEd Prairie conversion is packed with pollinators of all kinds. Walk the paths from mid-summer on and the vegetation supplies eye level observation.







Plants over 90 species of sedges, grasses, rushes, forbs and

Walking path


Site map - click to download

The start up condition

Quadrat sampling with Izabela  Redlinski

Herbicide application

Thatch removal

Seeding the Prairie

Eastern Forktail damselfly - Photo courtesy of Terry Miesle

Camouflaged Looper caterpillar on Monarda - Photo courtesy of Terry Miesle

Bombus impatiens on Cup Plant - Photo courtesy of Terry Miesle

Volunteer celebration

Early spring 2016

Fall 2017

Summer 2018

Stantec burns the prairie in 2017


Hemaris thysbe Hummingbird Clearwing Moth - Photo courtesy of Terry Miesle

Burning 2017

Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission

8 N. Elmhurst Road

Prospect Heights, IL. 60070

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