Location and Access:
From Savanna at the jct. Hwys. 52 & 84, take Hwy. 84 south 2.7 miles south to Airport road, then turn and go east 0.5 mile. The nature preserve is north of the road.
Ayers Sand Prairie is a relatively large preserve containing dry sand prairie, sand dune and blowout communities typical of the Mississippi River Section of the Illinois and Mississippi River Sand Areas Natural Division. An inventory of the plants revealed 39 species of grasses and sedges, 16 species of woody plants and 96 forbs. The dominant herbaceous species are little bluestem, June grass and hairy gramma grass. Carolina anemone, sandcress, puccoon and sand primrose are typical sand prairie species. Black oak and cottonwood occur in the blowouts along with scattered clones of aromatic sumac. Resident mammals include deer, skunk, rabbit, mole, shrew and western harvest mice. Summer resident birds occurring here include upland sandpiper, loggerhead shrike, western meadowlark, grasshopper sparrow and dickcissel. A number of the characteristic reptiles found in sand prairies occur at Ayers Sand Prairie.
Ownership: Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Dedicated: December 1974 as the 50th Illinois Nature Preserve
Size: 109 acres with an additional 6 acres of buffer
Topo Map: Wacker 7.5
For Further Information Contact: Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Biologist, Lost Mound Unit, 3159 Crim Drive, Savanna, IL 61074
1/2009 - R. Heidorn