Wildlife Corridor Established

Along Lake Shore Drive

Migratory birds and butterflies have a safe place to stop over, thanks to the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. Invasive species have been removed and volunteers have planted thousands of native trees and shrubs in their place.


Work started in 1998 along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive to restore native ecosystems for plants and animals. The restored natural space will also help slow down and filter water before it enters Lake Michigan, reducing runoff into the lake. This area along Lake Michigan known as the Burnham Natural Sanctuary had invasive plants and trees growing throughout, crowding out native plants and animals. The invasive species were removed and replaced with native plants, shrubs, and trees to restore a mix of prairie and woodland habitat. The 100-acre wildlife corridor will help attract native butterflies, migrating birds, and other wildlife.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • Lack of native habitat
  • Invasive species
  • Lack of options for migrating birds

Results and Accomplishments

More than 250 invasive trees and shrubs were removed from the Burnham Wildlife Corridor including Siberian elm, black locust, and tree of heaven. To create a woodland habitat with oak and maple approximately 80,000 trees were planted. Hundreds of volunteers gathered to plant these trees and help expand the butterfly meadow. Plants that have now returned thanks to the removal of invasive species include milkweed, heath aster, purple prairie clover, black-eyed Susan, spiderwort, and prairie dock.


Volunteers work on planting saplings in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor in Chicago.

Volunteers help plant shrubs and flowers for the butterfly garden in the wildlife corridor to encourage native pollinators to return to the city. Photo credit: Dan Thomson and the Chicago Park District.