Kloempken Prairie

October 13, 2011

A couple of evenings ago I was able to get out for a solo hike at a local forest preserve. I chose Kloempken prairie and Carle Woods. For those of you in the Chicago area, these are preserves right near the Oakton Community College campus off of Golf Road. The woods and prairie have been undergoing restoration since the 90s, I believe, and benefit from controlled burning on a seasonal basis. There's no trail system (yet), and access is from an Oakton college parking lot. Due to the controlled burns, the woods were impressively free of brush and invasive plants. Almost immediately upon entering the forest, I saw a group of 5 deer, one of which was a mature stag. Reading about the preserve, there are supposedly oak trees over 200 years old, and the place definitely had the feel of the ancient about it. The only real bummer was the overwhelming noise pollution from Golf Road and 294. The constant drone of cars filled the area, and made it difficult to hear the birds at times. That said, I heard and spotted a couple of Red-bellied woodpeckers. I occasionally came across patches of ferns. The ferns were often ghostly white; really beautiful. Anyway, I made these 3 gouache paintings inspired by my visit there. I've just listed them to my STORE too.

Patch of leaf litter and white ferns in Carle Woods, IL.

White-tailed deer hiding behind giant felled oak in Carle Woods.

Red-bellied Woodpecker snooping around tree branch.


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