The Dunning Read Conservation Area

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The Dunning Read Conservation Area (DRCA) is 23 acres of prairie, woodland and wetland combined to form one of the most unique and treasured natural areas Chicago has to offer. In 2007, a group of neighbors and local leadership came together to petition the state to protect this land as a sustainable landscape that supports biodiversity and human communities through natural resource preservation, education and recreation.

Since 2007, DRCA has engaged neighbors and local businesses to support an ongoing effort to open up this area at the corner of Oak Park Avenue and Irving Park Road for neighborhood use. Walking on the nature trail, bird watching, native plant restoration and providing healthy habitats for native wildlife are all goals for the conservation area. DRCA is also interested in engaging the surrounding communities, developing community connections and supporting environmental education opportunities to increase the appreciation of this local ecosystem.

When in the area, stop and take a look for yourself. DRCA is open April 1 through Oct. 30, sun-up to sun-down. The 1-mile-long, wood chip trail that winds through prairie and forested areas, near a small lake is a highlight not to be missed. DRCA sits on property shared with Chicago-Read Mental Health Center and parking is free, located just south of the center’s parking area.

Although this area has been around for over 10 years, the work to completely open up the area is still in the early stages and DRCA needs your help. The third Saturday of each month, from April through November is set aside for community restoration efforts. DRCA volunteers meet at 9 a.m., roll up their sleeves and have a lot of fun. DRCA euncourages residents to participate in volunteer days.

Visit DRCA and stay in touch on Facebook.