Places We Protect

German Methodist Cemetery Prairie


German Methodist Cemetery Prairie
German Methodist Cemetery Prairie Located in Lake County, Indiana. © Stuart Orr/TNC

German Methodist Cemetery Prairie is one of the best black soil prairie remnants in Indiana with over 200 species of native plants.



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.




2.7 acres

Explore our work in this region

What to See: Plants and Animals

It is one of the state’s most diverse sites, with over 200 species of native prairie plants, including the state-threatened cream wild indigo and the rare white upland aster. Spring, summer, and fall offer fabulous displays of wildflowers and prairie plants. White and pink shooting star carpet the tract in the spring. The yellow flowers of prairie dock and compass plant reach high in the summer sky, and in the autumn the translucent straw-colored grasses are a beautiful backdrop for purple asters, yellow sunflowers, and blue gentians. The dominant grass is prairie dropseed, which is indicative of virgin conditions.

The prairie portion of the German Methodist Cemetery has never been used for burials, so there are no tombstones. Please do make sure to take care when walking through the prairie as it is home to hundreds of important native plants.