BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND
I want to thank all my Nature in Chicagoland readers for visiting my blog in 2019. In nearly 35 blog posts and more than 59,000 words (I didn’t count them, so I’ll have to trust my data analytics software), I’ve covered everything from an adventurous trip down Nippersink Creek in McHenry County with my 9-year-old son; to winter hiking at North Park Village Nature Center; Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve, and other locales; to the Great Crane Migration in Nebraska. I discovered various spots in the Illinois Nature Preserves System (which protects the most pristine nature areas in our state). I talked to authors and environmentalists about the tallgrass prairie and The Driftless Region. I visited several nature centers, a local history museum, and a gem of a nature preserve that’s situated next to what I’d call an urban speedway in Chicago. I even interviewed 3 of the 14 candidates for Chicago mayor. (Sorry, no Lori Lightfoot.) It’s been a lot of fun, and a great way to spend more time outdoors with my son and wife. I wish writing stories for Nature in Chicagoland was my full-time job—maybe it will be some day.
I look forward to telling you more about the great places to see in Chicagoland. But before I move on to 2020, here were the reader favorites in 2019 (you can click on the links to read the articles).
The 11th-most-popular post is a tie between a state park and a recently named national park that are neighbors. I visited these two Midwestern gems on consecutive days in July. Because temps were in the low-90s, the parks were largely empty. I had the time of my life walking the dunes, hiking through the forests, and cooling off on the serene and stunning beaches. Wise government officials should combine these lakeshore gems to make a much-larger national park that will become an international draw due to its biological diversity, rare plants and animals, and proximity to Chicagoland.
Thanks for reading and supporting Nature in Chicagoland. Happy New Year, and please send me your ideas for places that you’d like covered in 2020. And tell your friends about Nature in Chicagoland. Have a great year outdoors!
Copyright (text) Andrew Morkes
Copyright (photos) Andrew Morkes, except the photos for entries #5 and #6 (copyright Cindy Crosby and Kevin Koch, respectively); the last photo for entry #9 (copyright Sagawau Canyon Environmental Learning Center); and all the photos for entry #10 (copyright Sand Ridge Nature Center)
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