Sand Ridge Nature Center
After completing my to-do list early today, I made the last minute decision to head to one of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s six nature centers, the Sand Ridge Nature Center, in South Holland, Illinois.
It was a good decision.
Glaciers formed a lake here at one time, and the sandy soil remains, giving the preserve its name. The area is mixed forest, prairie, and wetlands. Redwing Pond sits in the middle of the property.
But for a group that was visiting and getting ready to leave, I almost had the place to myself, only seeing three other people the entire time I was there. The Forest Preserve employee in charge of the facility warmly greeted me upon my arrival inside the nature center and highlighted the new boardwalk, wildlife, exhibits, and historical area. My ears pricked up when he said that they’ve had several black crowned night herons at the pond, but unfortunately, I didn’t see any. I did see plenty of red-bellied woodpeckers in the woods though!
I walked along the boardwalk towards Long Beach Trail. They have fenced off the area surrounding much of the nature center to prevent the white tail deer from eating the valuable plant life. Thankfully, the fence is not locked to humans, and I was able to explore at my leisure.