| Story by Meghan McMahon |
Raccoon Grove Nature Preserve is a pocket of woodland in eastern Will County that serves as a reminder of the rich cultural and natural history of our area.
The vast majority of Raccoon Grove — 211 acres of the 213-acre preserve — is protected as a state nature preserve, a designation bestowed in 1989. The nature preserve status recognizes the unique and significant history of the property and its habitats and offers permanent protection for the land’s natural resources.
The cultural resources protected at Raccoon Grove include part of a reservation granted to the daughters of a Potawatomi woman named Marie Bailly in 1832. The land also preserves natural resources included in the Rock Creek preservation system, which preserves more than 460 acres in all.
Today, one of the most popular activities at Raccoon Grove is viewing spring ephemeral wildflowers, which flourish there.
“If you want to see Raccoon Grove in color, spring is the time,” said Kate Caldwell, an interpretive naturalist for the Forest Preserve District. “All the diversity just lights up the forest floor.”
But the spring bounty is just part of the natural seasonal cycle of flora at the preserve, she said.