by Carl Strang
The green portions of St. James Farm Forest Preserve are not all wildlands. There are extensive grounds, some of which are paddock and events areas from the farm’s equestrian past, and some of which are designed plantings of various sorts. One prominent feature, borrowed from European design, is a scattered array of allees, paired rows of trees of the same species.
In my preliminary monitoring walks, the pin oak allee area is the only place where I have seen gray squirrels. Elsewhere there have been only fox squirrels so far. The ash allee is history, thanks to the emerald ash borer, but there are several other allees constructed with other tree species.
A variety of exotic woody plants may be found on the grounds. Many of these are concentrated around the former home site.
Brooks McCormick’s conservation interests were expressed in ponds and prairie plots at the edges of the grounds.
There also are significant conifer plantings, which already this fall have attracted pine siskins and red-breasted nuthatches down from the north.