Moraine Valley Community College || Nature Study Area and Observatory

Historical Timeline

Activities in the Nature Study Area

400,000,000 years ago   Tropical Silurian Sea occupies Central United States with extensive coral reefs Age of bedrock
1,600,000 years ago   Glaciers advance through most of Illinois
8,000-10,000 years ago   Glaciers retreat from area
Lake Chicago occupies area Beach ridges form
8,000 years ago to present   Mother Earth activities continue
1974   Moraine Valley Board of Trustees establishes Nature Study Area
1975   Wildlife tree/shrub perimeter planted
1976 to present   Prairie reconstructed and rehabilitated
1977   Pond establishment
Archaeological studies/site registered
1978   Wetland habitat established
April 22, 1990   Earth Day 20th anniversary celebration
1990   Nature Study Area rededicated
1991   Wetland restoration completed
1992   Sullivan Spring cleanup
G. Jack Bradley Observation Deck constructed
1993   New pier built on pond
1994   Wood duck nest boxes installed in pond
1995   Buckthorn eradication
Trail closures
1996   Additional prairie planting
Second pond established
2001   Nature Study Area rededicated
West parking lot established
Schulenberg inventory of prairie
2003   Observatory added to observation deck
Selected prairie sites rehabilitated
2005   New inventory and assessment of prairie grasses and forbs begins (ongoing, annual inventory)
2008   Prescribed prairie burn
Dragonfly monitoring begins
2009   Prescribed prairie burn
Removal of invasive European Buckthorn
2010   Construction of rain garden
Burr oak tree planted by east entrance
Frog monitoring begins
Honey bee population abundance and diversity study begins
Installation of bird observation and feeding station near Jack Bradley Deck
2012   Removal of invasive European Buckthorn
PhragNet research project begins

Other Activities Completed

Past—Scientific analysis of site as to

  • soil types and characteristics
  • plant communities
  • animal populations
  • hydrology
  • geology
  • ecological investigations
  • clean out of Sullivan Spring
  • chemical analysis of pond environment
  • growth studies of pond inhabitants
  • mapped bottom contour of pond
  • made and erected signs identifying area
  • established beehive
  • constructed and erected bird nesting boxes
  • instituted a program of controlling undesirable species


  • periodic grass/forb planting
  • periodic mow to eliminate competition
  • annual prescribed burns
  • annual litter collection
  • scientific study by students and staff
  • periodic tours by grade school and high school classes, garden clubs, senior citizens groups, and other community groups


  • continue present activities
  • establish walking path

Prairie Restoration

Click on map to see enlarged view