Important Bird Areas

Carpenter Park Nature Preserve

Illinois

Carpenter Park is a 322 acre tract with high quality upland and floodplain forest communities, intermittent streams, small seeps, and sandstone bedrock outcrops. These features represent over half of the remaining forest that originally occurred along the major streams of the Springfield section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division. Carpenter Park has a well documented history which begins with the local Indians who wintered on the bluffs above the river they called sain quee-mon (Sangamon). Two of the early settlers, William and Margaret Higgins, built a cabin near the present day preserve and may have been the first white people to view the area. William Carpenter arrived in 1820 and opened a small farm, established a ferry, and erected a flour and saw mill on the Sangamon River. Carpenter's daughter Sarah inherited the property and eventually sold it to the Springfield Park District in 1922. In spite of heavy use, the preserve still maintains a high quality wet-mesic floodplain forest, dominated by old growth sycamore, silver maple, cottonwood, and box elder trees. The dry mesic upland forest community is dominated by black and white oaks with scattered black cherry and hickory. The steep slopes and ravines support red and white oak. The canopy trees are nearly one hundred years old, but past disturbances have eliminated the younger age classes. This large tract along the river is important habitat for many wildlife species such as deer, racoon, white-footed mouse, and short-tailed shrew. At least 82 species of birds nest here, including the pileated woodpecker, scarlet tanager, summer tanager, Kentucky warbler, parula warbler, yellow-throated warbler and prothonotary warbler.

Ownership

Carpenter Park Nature Preserve is owned by Springfield Park District, 2500 South Eleventh Street, P.O. Box 5052 Springfield, IL 62705 (217/544-1751).

Habitat

The preserve maintains a high quality wet-mesic floodplain forest, dominated by old growth sycamore, silver maple, cottonwood, and boxelder trees. The dry-mesic upland forest community is dominated by black and white oaks with scattered black cherry and hickory. The steep slopes and ravines sipport red and white oak. The canopy trees are nearly one hundred years old, but past disturbances have eliminated the younger age classes. The large tract along the river is important habitat for many wildlife species such as deer, raccoon, white-footed mouse, and short-tailed shrew. At least 82 species of bird nest here, including the pileated woodpecker, parula warbler, yellow-throated warbler and prothonotary warbler.