Home » Service Units » The Committee on Natural Areas

The Committee on Natural Areas


The Committee on Natural Areas is responsible for maintaining and managing university-owned properties which have been acquired to enhance environmental/ecological research and education.

The role of the CNA is to provide and facilitate long-term research and teaching opportunities on the university-owned Natural Areas. Sites are managed to protect both the integrity of the ecological systems and the biological research that takes place on them. Eleven university areas are currently under the direct supervision of the Committee on Natural Areas:

  • Brownfield Woods
  • CCDC Collins Woods
  • Funk Forest
  • Nanney Research Area
  • Nettie Hart Woods
  • Phillips Tract
  • Edgar and Sophia Richter Research Area
  • Rutan Research Area
  • Trelease Woods
  • Trelease Prairie
  • Vermilion River Observatory

Together they compromise about 971 acres (390 ha.). They are composed of nine woodlands, a reconstructed prairie and a multi-use former farm. The sites also provide direct access to stretches of the Embarras River, Timber Creek, Sangamon River, Saline Ditch, and the Salt Fork River.

All of the CNA areas are restricted access, closed to the public and to recreational activities. Only authorized research and class field trips are permitted on the sites. Permits may be issued to U of I faculty, staff, students, Illinois Department of Natural Resources personnel, or qualified researchers from other colleges/universities. For further site-specific information, tours of sites or permits, please contact:

Steve Buck
Rm. 2054 Forbes Natural History Building
1816 S. Oak Street, MC-652
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-6458



Chair: May R. Berenbaum, Professor of Entomology, Head, Department of Entomology
Primary research area: Insect chemical ecology. Teaching: IB 109 - Insects and People, IB 444 - Insect Ecology (alternate years), and IB 445 - Chemical Ecology.

Natural Areas Coordinator: Steven R. Buck
Duties: Manage CNA research sites, coordinate research and educational use and be the site resource person.
Research Areas: Freshwater mussel ecology, role of prescribed burning in woodland management, and woodland treefall patterns.

Other Committee Members and their departments: