Elmwood Dunes Preserve is nearly an acre of lakefront property that had been fenced off and closed to the public for decades. Over time, the 80-foot wide lakefront property became overgrown with trees and shrubs that were invasive and non-native to the area. With the help of grants and private donations, the Village and community volunteers worked together to restore the Elmwood Dunes back to its original habitat. The invasive species have been removed, the property has been cleaned up, and over 50 species of native plants have been installed.
Although the three-year restoration effort concluded with a ribbon cutting on November 1, 2015, Elmwood Dunes Preserve will be around for future generations to enjoy. Now, Elmwood Dunes Preserve is a sanctuary for those looking for a quiet space to enjoy nature, as well as an educational opportunity for youth and adults alike to learn about the “living laboratory” that is the Preserve. Elmwood Dunes Preserve is a model for lakefront community best practices through restoring Wilmette’s last natural bluff and dune ecosystem, protecting endangered species, providing habitat for migratory birds, offering educational opportunities for local schools, and preserving Wilmette’s natural history.