"Two hundred years ago Illinois was one immense natural area, dotted with islands of human development. Today, Illinois is an almost completely developed landscape with islands of natural habitat occurring across the landscape. It's as if a vast quilt of development has settled upon Illinois, but one with threadbare patches that allow remnants of the original landscape to show through. These natural areas are our biological heritage and show us what the landscape of Illinois once was. They act as reservoirs for much of the state's biodiversity and serve as templates for current and future restoration efforts."
-Michael Jeffords, 2003