This land was acquired in parcels between 1974 and 1976. The preserve and nearby Old School Road each got their name from the now-defunct Bradley School, which stood near the preserve's southeast corner. The school began as a log cabin in 1873. Learn more »
This was the first forest preserve in Illinois to blend native prairie restoration with recreation facilities. For instance, native prairie plants replace the usual mowed lawn, and parking lots are small and hidden from view among the trees. Innovations like this led to national awards, placing our agency among a select group of leaders in this field.
Large oaks dominate these woodlands that blend with small prairies. This landscape resembles what Lake County looked like when it was first settled. Bluebirds, foxes and screech owls are just a few of the animals living here. Time one of your visits to coincide with the August peak of prairie flowers blooming. You'll be treated to a rainbow of colors, ranging from golden alexanders to purple milkweed. Learn more »
Restoration has long been a priority at Old School. With the help of its dedicated volunteer Site Steward and team of volunteers, much work has gone into restoring the prairie and monitoring its wildlife. However, the preserve needs further assistance with removal of invasive species and reforestation with native species. Learn how you can get involved.