Burnham Nature Sanctuary

Burnham Nature Sanctuary


Chicago Park District


10 acres


Burnham Nature Sanctuary

Chicago, Illinois


The concept for this sanctuary originated with Mayor Richard M. Daley as part of a program to improve Chicago's parks, introducing natural areas and enhancing the public's enjoyment of the City's open spaces.

Our team led the creation of this sanctuary within the existing Burnham Park adjacent to Lake Michigan - which provides habitat for a variety of wildlife and a resting place for migratory birds along this major flyway. Our process included analyzing existing site conditions (degraded second-growth woods, open lawn areas, scattered ornamental trees), meeting with ornithologists from the Field Museum and the Lincoln Park Zoo, and discussing opportunities with birders.

This process identified three ecosystems to be restored and/or introduced on-site to retain existing and attract other new species - including restoration of the existing woods, the development of native prairie, and introducing a modest butterfly meadow. A system of interpretive signage was integrated throughout the site, providing site habitat and wildlife educational opportunities.