UIC's James Woodworth Prairie Preserve

An Illinois Prairie Remnant

Visiting the James Woodworth Prairie

Steps through the prairie garden into the Interpretation Center
Photo by Dr. Evelyn Pease Tyner

Regular Open Period

After 21 Aug 2011 the James Woodworth Prairie will be closed to the public until 1 June 2012.

There is a guide and a guide booklet available, but individuals are welcome to walk around without the guide. It is not necessary to stay on the path.

The prairie is fenced and there is no access when Woodworth is not open. There is a ramp for wheelchair access to building, referred to as the Interpretation Center. The building is surrounded by a garden of prairie plants. About half the native species of JWP are growing in the garden.

Location and Directions

Now annexed by the Village of Glenview the formerly unincorporated area can only be found in some GPS websites using 9831 Milwaukee Ave Des Plaines IL 60016. James Woodworth Prairie is on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue (IL 21) about half a mile north of Golf Road (IL58).

From Chicago take I90/I94 (Kennedy) to the Edens (I94). Exit at Dempster West and continue a few miles west to Milwaukee Avenue (IL 21). Go north on Milwaukee Avenue a couple of miles. The entrance gate is on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue. 

The JWP parking lot can hold as many as a dozen vehicles. There is no prairie access from Greenwood Ave.

Cicada on blazing star (Liatris) stalk. Yellow flowers are yellow avens.

Animal Pictures

What you might see! You have to visit often to see it all.


What you can see changes depending on the season of your visit. Before the prairie is open to the public the killdeer is nesting and there is a display of flowers in early and late May. In June spiderwort and pasture rose share the prairie with nesting redwings. Be careful, the redwings can be quite aggressive. The prairie cicada (left) is only out singing from June 15 to the 4th of July. The prairie lily and Michigan lily add color to the white of wild quinine about the beginning of July. The compass plant is the first of the abundant Silphiums to bloom. Their yellow dominates the prairie until September. About the first of August the marsh and prairie blazing star (photo by Don Gustafson) are beautiful. In September the yellows of the Silphiums disappear and the lavender colored smooth aster provides lots of color and the rare prairie gentian has a rich blue.

In building:

There are display cases with arrowheads and stone tools, skulls, a diorama of abobe and below ground animal activity, floral blooming sequence pictures (blackboard tells what is blooming at present), pictures of planting the garden, insects (click for list of insects in display case) and crayfish specimens, and illustrations of early pioneers and settlers.

Special Events

Woodworth Prairie welcomes inquiries from groups that wish to visit the prairie during periods that we are not regularly open. Contact the Director by email: molumby@uic.edu or mail.
Department of Bio Sci 3092 SEL
845 W. Taylor St.
Chicago IL 60607