BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND
Today is the three-year anniversary of my blog, Nature in Chicagoland. In the last 1,095 days, I’ve published more than 120 articles about the great outdoors. I’ve covered everything from eagle watching and views of the mighty Mississippi River at Mississippi Palisades State Park; to remnants of the Manhattan Project and great wildlife viewing in Red Gate Woods in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago; to first-time snowshoeing with my son in Galena, Illinois; to enjoying near solitude with a view of the Chicago Skyline from the shores of Indiana Dunes National Park; to first-time kayaking with my son on Nippersink Creek in McHenry County; to thousands of years of Native American history at Effigy Mounds National Monument in eastern Iowa.
I’ve filled you in on how to see trolls, bison, ghosts, and rare and endangered species in the Midwest. I’ve interviewed nature authors, photographers, artists, politicians, and others who care about natural places in Chicagoland. And I’ve occasionally taken a break from nature to tell stories about my parents and beloved family and friends or discuss an issue that’s important to me—such as gun control, stopping gerrymandering, saving a historical building, and protecting the work of our nation’s hardworking journalists. One of the best parts of writing a blog (as opposed to writing books for other people–a big part of my day job) is the fact that I can write about whatever I want, and that’s a great feeling! Another great thing: getting the chance to talk with some very nice people about nature via the comments section of the site, as well as in person. It’s a great feeling when someone you’ve never met from California, or Colorado, or Chicagoland takes the time to comment on your blog or send you an email.
It’s been a rewarding three years, and I look forward to telling you about many of my favorite destinations in Chicagoland over the next year. Look for stories on Nachusa Grasslands, Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve (the only canyon in Cook County), Powderhorn Marsh, Belmont Prairie, Apple River Canyon State Park, and much more in year four. But before I move on, here were the most popular posts of the first three years:
- Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve: The Wildest Place in Cook County
- Red Gate Woods: Hawks and Hills, Sloughs and Snakes, and Ghosts and Buried Nuclear Waste, Oh My!
- A Personal Ghost Story, Ghosts of Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs, and 11 Spots for Post-Ghost-Tour Fun
- Palmisano Park: A Hidden Gem in Chicago
- Seven Places to See Bison in the Midwest
- Sad Thanksgiving News and the Celebration of a Great Life
- A Tale of Three Funeral Directors: Thoughts on the Passing of a Funeral Industry Icon, My Dad, and the Man Who Took Me to My First Blues Bar
- Elegy for a 100-Year-Old Red Brick House
- Joe the Guardian, Sneaky Socks Alexa, and the Other Trolls Are Waiting to Be Discovered at The Morton Arboretum
- Mississippi Palisades State Park—Great Views, Muddy Shoes, and Eagles in Twos
Thanks for reading and supporting Nature in Chicagoland. Have a great year outdoors!
Copyright (text/photos) Andrew Morkes
2021 BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT
Looking for more great nature destinations in Chicagoland? If so, I just published Nature in Chicagoland: More Than 120 Fantastic Nature Destinations That You Must Visit. It features amazing destinations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Click on the title to learn more.