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Edna Edwards Burnett Land and Water Reserve

  • A portion of the Embarras River flows through the middle of the property.

  • This section of the Embarras river is considered of high conservation value because of the diversity of freshwater mussel species that call it home.

  • The Nanny Tract, owned by the University of Illinois, lies to the south and also protects a length of the Embarras River.

Located in Crittenden Township in the southern most part of Champaign County, the Burnett Tract is closer to Villa Grove than it is to Urbana or Champaign. The first 20-acres of this property was generously donated to Grand Prairie Friends by Mr. Ralph Burnett in memory of his mother, Edna Edwards Burnett.


The site is fairly open with few trees. Reed canary grass, a non-native species, dominates the riparian zone and is targeted for removal efforts. Scattered trees in the floodplain and adjacent areas include green ash, silver maple, Osage orange, honey locust, and hawthorn. Near the bridge on 100N, there are a few shagbark hickory and eastern cottonwood trees. 

After Ralph's passing in 2021, his sons sold the adjacent 60-acres to Grand Prairie Friends to expand the existing preserve into a now 80-acre preserve. Funds for this acquisition were provided by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. In partnership with Brookfield Energy, Grand Prairie Friends will restore the expanded 60-acres into forested bat habitat for protected bat species which live in the area including the Little Brown, Tri-Colored and Indiana bat. Over 22,000 trees are scheduled for planting in spring of 2022.

IL 130 south from Urbana for 14 miles to 200N.  West 1 mile on 200N to 1500E.  South on 1500E one mile to 100N.  West on 100N ¼ mile.  Park along road east of bridge.  Property is north. 



1466-1498 County Road 100 N, Tolono, IL 61880

Lat: 39.894239 Long: -88.184042

Directions to the Preserve

Preserve is open for public access dawn to dusk. This is registered as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve, and no living or dead plant or animal material, or inorganic material including soils, minerals, or water, may be removed. We encourage you to come out for hiking, bird watching, nature observation and study, and photography.

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Guidelines for visiting the Preserve

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