The John M. Olin Nature Preserve

2213 S. Levis Lane
Godfrey, Illinois


The Illinois tall-grass prairie supported an abundant of wildlife but within a few short generations of Euro-American settlers' arrival, over 99% of this biologically diverse landscape had been altered by agriculture and urbanization. Although Illinois still is known as the "Prairie State," less than 0.01% of Illinois' original 21 million acres of prairie remains. What once was a vast sea of rich prairie now survives only as tiny, isolated patches. Many species of prairie plants and animals have either disappeared or are in rapid decline due to loss of habitat.

One area that is being preserved is the nearly 300-acre tract Olin Nature Preserve along the Mississippi River bluffs. The property was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1990 and was deeded to the Nature Institute in 1995. It is one of the largest privately owned nature preserves in the state. The preserve harbors 374 native plant species and provides habitat to nearly 150 species of birds at different times of the year, including neo-tropical migrant species and the American Bald Eagle. Marked trails give the visitor splendid views of the Mississippi River from the hill prairie, and a view of the Mississippi flood plain.

The Nature Institute's volunteer restoration efforts at the preserve have increased over the years. Dedicated groups of volunteers have removed invading exotic species, conducted controlled burns, and helped restore the forest, savanna, and hill prairie to its original state.

Illinois State Nature Preserves are limited to walking, birding, and photography. Camping, picnicking, littering, pets, and vehicles are not allowed inside any preserve. All plants, animals, birds, and insects are protected in these preserves, so do not disturb or remove any natural objects including rocks, plants, seeds, or insects.


Visiting the Olin Nature Preserve
Open dawn to dusk from March 16 - November 14
There is no charge to visit the Olin Nature Preserve.

For additional information visit, the official website of the John M. Olin Preserve and The Nature Institute.


Explore the community of Godfrey area.

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