Loda Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve
Location and Access:
From center of Loda, go west on blacktop road 0.3 mile, then north 0.6 miles to Loda (Pine Ridge) Cemetery. The nature preserve is north of the cemetery.
Loda Cemetery Prairie is an outstanding example of the original mesic black soil prairie in the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. For many years the prairie at Loda Cemetery was idle. The grasses were mowed regularly but were never cultivated or pastured. In 1981, the Cemetery Association ran out of burial space and made plans to expand into the prairie. The Natural Land Institute negotiated an alternative plan that would allow for expansion of the cemetery while preserving the prairie. The Institute acquired 5 acres of farmland adjacent to the cemetery to give to the Cemetery Association. In turn, the Association agreed to dedicate the prairie as a nature preserve. This preserve was protected with the help of The Nature Conservancy and Grand Prairie Friends. The prairie contains over 130 species of native plant species. The dominant grasses are Indian grass and big bluestem. Common spring flowers include shooting star, downy phlox and yellow star grass. Rattlesnake master, compass plant and wild quinine are typical during the summer while goldenrods and asters are abundant in the fall. The small size of the preserve limits its value as a wildlife refuge since most birds and mammals require more extensive habitat, but grasshopper sparrow, yellowthroat and meadowlark have nested in the prairie. Also, many uncommon butterflies restricted to prairies may reside here. A 9-acre buffer area adjacent to the original prairie is being restored to prairie vegetation.
Ownership: The Nature Conservancy and Grand Prairie Friends
Dedicated: June 1983
Size: 12.39 acres with buffer
Topo Map: Buckley 7.5
For Further Information Contact: Grand Prairie Friends, P.O. Box 36, Urbana, Il 61803-0036
03/10 R. Heidorn