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Springdale Cemetery Savanna

Thanks for Your Help!

The Savanna at Springdale Cemetery in Peoria is a native remnant of the tallgrass oak savanna that once covered Illinois River bluffs prior to European settlement - and the only such remnant located within the city of Peoria.  In 2006, the Peoria Audubon Board was informed that Springdale Cemetery Management Authority had considered converting the savanna to burial plots.

The Peoria Audubon Board went on record to the Cemetery Authority asking that the savanna be maintained in its natural state rather than converting it to burial plots.

Letter to Cemetery Authority:

December 11, 2006

Springfield Cemetery Authority
Springdale Cemetery
Peoria, Illinois 61603

Dear Authority Members,

On behalf of the Board of the Peoria Audubon Society, We wish to go on record to support maintaining the savanna area in Springdale Cemetery as a natural savanna. While we appreciate the Authority’s effort to clean up the overgrown cemetery resulting from years of neglect, the savanna consists of native plants, not weeds, in their natural context.

We support maintaining the savanna for the following reasons: A rare savanna remnant is consistent with Springdale’s role of preserving the history of the cemetery. Erosion potential of this area is minimized by the deep roots of the savanna plants. Costs of maintaining the savanna are much less than conversion and maintenance of mowed cemetery plots and we understand there are 50,000 potential gravesites in other areas of the cemetery.

The savanna remnant cannot be replaced if it were to be destroyed. We ask that your decisions be based on knowledge and an understanding of landscaping views which change over time rather than uninformed impressions based only on the current landscaping ideal of mowed grass of some people.

Sincerely yours,

Maury Brucker
Conservation Chairperson
Peoria Audubon Society

Thanks to your help, the savanna was preserved.  Dennis, webmaster for Peoria Audubon Society, took the following photos while on a bicycle ride through the 6 1/2 miles of trails at the cemetery.    Map of Springdale Cemetery

Deer at Springdale Cemetery Savanna

The Peoria Wilds a local not-for-profit grass roots organization spent countless hours restoring the tallgrass oak savanna to it's historic, pre settlement condition.

"This natural area is a rare remnant of 10,000-year-old tallgrass oak savanna, the ecological community that dominated the Illinois River bluffs prior to European settlement.  Tall prairie grasses, such as Big Bluestem and Indian grass, oak trees, and wildflowers were common in this community."  

More information on Peoria Wilds Springdale Restoration



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