Even at 29 acres, Spinn Prairie is one of Indiana’s larger remaining prairie remnants, tucked inconspicuously between a railroad track and a county road. An informal trail leads west through a break in the fence and into the preserve, but soon peters out, leaving you to choose among faint deer paths and even fainter hints of trails. It can be difficult to go very far without crushing something underfoot.
Small variations in elevation make a big difference in soil moisture and structure, both contributing to differences in plant communities, and that phenomenon is on display at Spinn. To the north, oak savanna conditions prevail on slightly higher and drier ground, while much of the preserve’s southern portion is at least seasonally wet. Many typical prairie plants occur in the central portion; look for compass plant, prairie dock, blazing star, rattlesnake master, milkweed, grasses, and in wet areas, iris. Other species abound, especially monarch and other butterflies, with hundreds of individuals sometimes present in late summer.