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Siegenthaler-Kaestner Esker State Nature Preserve

Preserving 37 acres in Champaign County


Siegenthaler-Esker's 37 acres were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn L. Siegenthaler whose generosity has ensured that this landscape will continue to inspire the curiosity of future generations.

An esker is a narrow ridge of stratified material (till that has been sorted and deposited in layers according to grain size by running water). Steep sides and a sinuous shape are common features.

Most eskers were formed in tunnels carved through the lowest level of the glacier by meltwater streams. When the glacier finally melted away, the rocks, sand and gravel dropped in the bed of the stream remained as an esker to mark its course.

Eskers are usually discontinuous and this one is no exception. The ridge just south of the main esker is part of the same ancient streambed.

The ridge to the west represents a separate channel cut through the ice. It is lower and wider than the main esker, which may indicate that it is made of a different mix of sand and gravel, or may reflect an unknown change of conditions in the melting ice sheet.

The small knolls north of the eskers are kames, piles of gravel dropped into pits and crevices in the glacier by meltwater streams flowing on top of the ice.

The small pond to the east is known as a kettle and was formed when a block of ice was left behind and was surrounded by till. When it melted, a depression remained which filled with ground water. Eskers, kames and kettles are called ice contact features because they were formed in or against ice.

The wide, flat valley west of the eskers is an outwash channel made of gravel melted out of the glacier and deposited in sheets in front of its retreating edge. The presence of outwash and ice contact features show the ice was stagnant or in retreat when they were made. During the formation of this landscape, the glacier was melting back to the north and the meltwater streams were flowing south.

Local Directions

Located in Champaign County, northwest of Urbana, between Urbana and Rosewood; from Rosewood follow SR 29 east 8 miles to Calland Road, proceed north on Calland Road 2.5 miles, then east on Couchman Road .5 mile to preserve entrance.

Special Features

Summer Wildflowers
Geologic Features
Bird Watching


  • Glacial landforms including eskers
  • kames
  • outwash valley and kettle pond

Facilities

  • parking
  • trail system

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