top of page

Bonnie's Prairie Nature Preserve

  • The only sand pond and wet sand prairie protected as a nature preserve in east-central Illinois.

  • Cleft Phlox, also known as Sand Phlox, blooms in the springtime. It is a unique plant of this site.

  • The northern-most property owned by Grand Prairie Friends.

Bonnie's Prairie contains the only sand pond protected as a nature preserve in East-Central Illinois. The site encompasses a high-quality sand pond and wet sand prairie characteristic of the Kankakee Sand Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. The area is underlain by wind-blown sand deposits. ​


The sand pond is a still body of typically shallow water brimming with a wide array of wetland plants including cordgrass, fowl manna grass, small-flowered water plantain, pickerel weed, bur reed, and yellow pond lily. Two very uncommon, native species of bee that gather pollen exclusively from pickerel weed occur here. A variety of waterfowl frequent the pond. Wet sand prairie lies on an adjacent flat, low area and is strongly dominated by blue joint grass with occasional water smartweed and blue flag. On the other side of the pond, a low hill supports dry-mesic sand prairie typified by plants such as little bluestem, panic grass, hairy puccoon, goat's rue, and sand milkweed.

I-57 north from Champaign then Hwy 24 east to Watseka. North on US 1 one mile then ½ east on 2200N. Small dirt parking lot on right, near tracks.


2073 E 2200 North Rd, Watseka, IL 60970
Lat: 40.831264 Long: -87.73485

Directions to the Preserve

Preserve is open for public access dawn to dusk. This is an Illinois State Nature Preserve, and use is limited to walking, birding, and photography. Camping, picnicking, littering, pets, and vehicles are not allowed inside the preserve. All plants, animals, birds, and insects are protected, so do not disturb or remove any natural objects including rocks, plants, seeds, or insects.

guideline icons.png

Guidelines for visiting the Preserve

bottom of page