In the village of Glenview, east of the Chicago River’s North Branch, Harms Flatwoods is dominated by huge old bur and swamp white oaks, with an understory of black ash, winterberry, hazelnut and other native trees and shrubs. Stewards are making good progress against invasives such as buckthorn and garlic mustard. Fire was re-introduced in 1996 for the first time in recent history. Flatwoods communities are very wet in the spring and fall rainy seasons because a clay pan underlying the top layers of soil tends to hold the water. Plants such as the lovely Carex bromoides, affectionately described as the “dropseed of the woods” because of its fountain-like growth habit, flourishes in this wet woods. A bridle path leads riders and hikers through the woods along the north edge and down the east side.
In January of 2017, Harms Flatwoods was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve, in recognition of its unique ecology. Illinois Nature Preserve designation affords the strongest degree of protection for Illinois natural areas.