Why You Should Visit
The grand tallgrass prairie once covered most of northwest Indiana's silt loam soils. These "black soil prairies" were extremely fertile and almost all of these prairies succumbed to agriculture. Fortunately, all is not lost. Dedicated as a State Nature Preserve in 1981, the German Methodist Cemetery Preserve in Lake County is the finest black soil prairie remnant in not only the state but in all of the Midwest. It is also one of the most diverse sites in the state with over 200 species of native plants in its less than 3 acres.
What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/Has Done
The Conservancy was able to acquire the rare prairie after Indiana's Division of Nature Preserves was not able to obtain rights to the area. Unfortunately, half the prairie was plowed for future burial use before the cemetery board agreed to trade the prairie for adjacent farmland offered for sale by a sympathetic neighbor. After being dedicated as a state nature preserve, the prairie is now protected for future generations. A buffer strip around the prairie was also acquired and a fence installed for further protection. Periodic prescribed burns also take place to keep the prairie in a healthy, natural condition. The Conservancy transferred the property to the DNP in 2010.