Effigy Mounds National Monument: Massive Bears, Stunning Views, and Thousands of Years of Native American History

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.Marching Bear Group. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.Where: Northeastern Iowa. The monument is located three miles north of Marquette, Iowa, on Highway 76. Phone: 563/873-3491, ext. 123 (visitor center front desk) Web, Facebook Distance From City-Center Chicago: 220 miles Travel Notes: The historic river town of Galena, Illinois, … Continue reading Effigy Mounds National Monument: Massive Bears, Stunning Views, and Thousands of Years of Native American History

Kohler-Andrae State Park: Camping, Surf and Sand, and Much More

“Will that cool sandbar still be at the lake like last year? Do you think the racoons will visit our campsite again? Can we make smores by the fire like last year?” These are just a few of the questions my seven-year-old peppered me with as we drove to Kohler-Andrae State Park, which is just … Continue reading Kohler-Andrae State Park: Camping, Surf and Sand, and Much More

River Trail Nature Center: Birdwatching, Hiking, and Much More

Where: 3120 Milwaukee Avenue, Northbrook, IL 60062, 847/824-8360, Web Visited: June 23, 2017 and April 18, 2017 Quick Review: A nature center that features: Beautiful views of the meandering Des Plaines River, great birdwatching, and three easy-to-hike trails through forest and wetlands. Many birds. Yes, I know I just mentioned them, but they’re worth another mention. … Continue reading River Trail Nature Center: Birdwatching, Hiking, and Much More

7 Places to See Bison in the Midwest

Bison are an enduring symbol of the old American West—and our national mammal. Massive, powerful, and free, they linger in the American imagination unlike any other land animal except perhaps the bald eagle and grizzly bear. At their peak in the mid-1800s, an estimated 30 to 60 million bison ranged from Canada to northern Mexico … Continue reading 7 Places to See Bison in the Midwest

Red Gate Woods: Hawks and Hills, Sloughs and Snakes, and Ghosts and Buried Nuclear Waste, Oh My!

Where: Red Gate Woods, Forest Preserve of Cook County-Palos Trail System Distance From City-Center Chicago: About 23 miles (Red Gate Woods is located in Lemont, Illinois) Visited: May 16, 2017 Quick Review: Among the highest-quality natural habitat in the Chicago area. Hiking trails that range from paved flat paths, to boggy, muddy single-person-wide trails, to challenging hilly terrain. Many … Continue reading Red Gate Woods: Hawks and Hills, Sloughs and Snakes, and Ghosts and Buried Nuclear Waste, Oh My!

Celebrate National Park Week by Visiting a National Park—For Free!

The National Park Service (NPS) has partnered with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, to present National Park Week (NPW) from April 15 to 23, 2017. National Park Week is actually 9 days, but why quibble if we can enjoy two more days of celebrating what many call “America’s Greatest … Continue reading Celebrate National Park Week by Visiting a National Park—For Free!

Photo Exhibition Tells the Tale of Two Lake Michigans—and Reinforces the Need for Good Environmental Stewardship

  Lake Michigan plays an integral role in the life of Chicagoans and other Midwesterners. Our beautiful lake, its sandy beaches, wildlife, and the sky above are an ever-changing collage of colors and motion: fiery orange and red sunrises and sunsets, crashing waves, migrating birds such as Purple Martins and Chestnut-Sided Warblers in the air … Continue reading Photo Exhibition Tells the Tale of Two Lake Michigans—and Reinforces the Need for Good Environmental Stewardship

Scilla and the Coming of Spring

Snowdrops. Crocuses. Glory-of-the-Snows. I love these plucky flowers that defy winter and burst through piles of dwindling snow or otherwise weather the cool early spring temperatures in Chicago. But spring truly arrives for me when I see the brilliant violet-blue Scilla blanketing the glacial ridge that looms over Longwood Drive in my childhood neighborhoods of … Continue reading Scilla and the Coming of Spring

Take a Nature Hike, President Trump

President Trump, have you ever taken a hike? Not a stroll between holes on one of your golf courses, but a real hike in which the sounds of the city are a distant memory, your phone has no reception, you can’t Tweet, there is no fast food, and the only sounds you hear are the … Continue reading Take a Nature Hike, President Trump

Loyola University Chicago’s Wealth of Environmental Majors Make Other Schools Green With Envy

In these challenging times, there’s a strong need for young people who can conduct scientific research on climate change, pollution control, and green manufacturing practices; develop conservation plans that will protect threatened and endangered plants and animals; help restore polluted areas; create sustainability programs; and educate others about these topics. Chicago-area teens who are interested … Continue reading Loyola University Chicago’s Wealth of Environmental Majors Make Other Schools Green With Envy