Goodbye (and Good Riddance) 2020…Hello 2021!


I want to thank my Nature in Chicagoland readers for visiting my blog in 2020. In nearly 45 blog posts, I covered everything from buffalo “hunting” at Kankakee Sands; to exploring the remnant prairies that dot Chicagoland’s landscape; to 14 of my favorite national parks and other National Park Service properties (including 6 in the Midwest); to the Great Sandhill Crane Migration in Indiana. I discovered various spots in the Illinois Nature Preserves System (which protects the most pristine nature areas in our state). I talked to environmentalists and authors about dragonflies and damselflies and nature spots you can visit by taking public transportation, and I talked to a nature artist about her work. I interviewed 3 candidates for positions on the board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. And I revisited spots that I love such as Nippersink Creek (if you love kayaking or canoeing, enjoy a float down this Northern Illinois waterway), Cap Sauer’s Holding Nature Preserve, North Park Village Nature Center, Messenger Woods (be sure to visit in the spring to see its amazing display of Virginia Bluebells), Orland Grassland, and Sand Ridge Nature Center. It’s been a lot of fun, and a great way to spend more time outdoors with my son and wife–and get out of the house during the pandemic.

I look forward to telling you more about great places to visit in Chicagoland. But before I move on to 2021, here were the most-popular nature stories in 2020 as selected by my readers (you can click on the links to read the articles). I’ll cover the most-popular non-nature stories in a different blog article.

I wish you a happy and healthy year outdoors.

1. Kankakee Sands: Bison Hunting, Wide Open Spaces, and Great Hiking

2. Twenty+ Great Destinations on Chicago’s South Side and in the Southland to Check Out This Weekend and Beyond

3. A Lake Michigan Calendar, Books Spotlighting Iconic Chicago Scenes and Destinations, and Nature Books to Fill Your Holiday Stockings

4. Try “The Ted” if You’re Looking for Some Nature in the Time of COVID-19

5. Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area: THE Place to See the Great Eastern Sandhill Crane Migration Each Fall and Spring

6. Belmont Prairie and More Than 25 Other Prairies in Chicagoland to Visit and Enjoy

7. Fourteen Amazing Nature Spots I Visited This Year That Should be on Your Chicagoland “Nature Bucket List”

8. Indian Ridge Marsh Park: A Bird Haven and a Story of Environmental Rebirth

9. Raccoon Grove Nature Preserve: Stunning Spring Wildflowers, a Sun-Dappled Creek, Splendid Fall Colors, and Easy Hiking

10. Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve: A Birdwatching Hotspot

Copyright (text) Andrew Morkes, Nature in Chicagoland

Copyright (photos, except book covers) Andrew Morkes, Nature in Chicagoland


Looking for some 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. 

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I have been a writer and editor for more than 25 years. I’m the founder of College & Career Press (2002); the editorial director of the CAM Report career newsletter and College Spotlight newsletter; the author and publisher of “The Morkes Report: College and Career Planning Trends” blog; and the author and publisher of Hot Health Care Careers: 30 Occupations With Fast Growth and Many New Job OpeningsNontraditional Careers for Women and Men: More Than 30 Great Jobs for Women and Men With Apprenticeships Through PhDsThey Teach That in College!?: A Resource Guide to More Than 100 Interesting College Majors, which was selected as one of the best books of the year by the library journal Voice of Youth Advocates; and other titlesThey Teach That in College!? provides more information on environmental- and sustainability-related majors such as Ecotourism, Range Management, Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Built Environment, Sustainability Studies, and Sustainable Agriculture/Organic Farming. I’m also a member of the parent advisory board at my son’s school. 

In addition to these publications, I’ve written more than 40 books about careers for other publishing and media companies. I’ve written and edited many books for Infobase including the venerable Encyclopedia of Careers & Vocational Guidance, the Vault Career Guide to Accounting, and many volumes in the Careers in Focus, Discovering CareersWhat Can I Do Now?!, and Career Skills Library series.

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