Barbara Brown Nature Reserve

Winding paths lead visitors through four terrestrial habitats, including a prairie on the berm and east end of the lake, a low woodland on the south edge of the lake, an upland woodland on the northeast end of the lake, and a savanna habitat on the north side of the lake. This habitat attracts a diversity of birds, butterflies, and insects—as well as visitors who enjoy relaxing and observing the fauna.

This 12-acre Reserve was restored by Garden ecologists between 2009 and 2015, removing invasive species and replanting native plants to provide critical habitat for the region’s bird species. Through the Reserve, Barbara Brown’s legacy as a steward of nature has allowed generations the opportunity to relish this serene place.

Located on the south side of the Garden just inside the Dundee service road entrance (most easily accessed if you are on the Skokie Lagoon bike trail and cross Dundee at the crosswalk); about a 20-minute walk south on the service road from the Visitor Center.

In every season of the year, wintering, migrating, and breeding birds are drawn to the Reserve.

Birds found in the Reserve are also a part of the Garden's master bird list. Commonly identified species include warblers, vireos, flycatchers, ducks, sparrows, hawks, and sometimes even eagles.

The Regenstein School of the Chicago Botanic Garden offers seasonal bird walk classes in the Reserve. Outfitted with binoculars and a field guide, bird enthusiasts study summer nesting birds, learn to identify their territorial songs, and perform a nesting bird survey. Exploration continues with a fall migration class, and students learn to decode muted birds with their fall and winter plumages.