That’s what Michigan resident Caleb Stevens did in 2017. The now 23-year-old, who spent two years at West Point, decided to join a Kurdish militia allied with the U.S. that was fighting ISIS in Syria. Yes, that ISIS. The one that beheads, burns, rapes, otherwise tortures, and kills people, and that once controlled large swathes … Continue reading Would You Travel 6,200 Miles to Fight Evil?
Today is the one-year anniversary of my blog, Nature in Chicagoland. In the last year, I’ve published more than 40 articles (45,000+ words, I can’t believe it myself) 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 … Continue reading Celebrating the One-Year Anniversary of Nature in Chicagoland
I consider myself an Independent, although I strongly lean Democrat (but I’m not a fan of the stranglehold that Michael Madigan–type Democrats have on Illinois). I've voted for one or two Republicans in my 30 years of voting. I’ve voted Green Party occasionally when a good candidate is slated. I think I've missed one election … Continue reading America 2018: Thoughts on School Shootings, Gun Control, Gerrymandering, and Kindness
My snow mantra worked—maybe too well! Within the last week or so, snow-starved Chicagoland became a winter wonderland. Shouts of joy and a blizzard of curse words came from those who either embraced or were enraged by the nearly 12 inches of snow that’s fallen in the last week. Last week, my wife, 7-year-old son, … Continue reading First-Time Showshoer Tells All: 10 Tips for Success and My Son’s Thank You
Imagine hiking in the wilds of Chicagoland amidst a foot of soft, crunchy snow. If you were wearing boots, you’d be almost up to your knees in snow—and quickly tiring. But you’re wearing snowshoes, and you are moving free and easy atop the snow (although you might need a little practice if you’re a first-time … Continue reading Ditch the Winter Blahs and Go Snowshoeing in the Cook County Forest Preserves
I want to thank all of my Nature in Chicagoland readers for visiting my blog in 2017. I launched the blog last March not sure how many people would want to read about nature, but the number of visitors grew almost every month, with visitor and page views peaking last month. Not a bad way … Continue reading Goodbye 2017…Hello, 2018!
I’m breaking the rules today at Nature in Chicagoland. Normally, I only write about destinations within a day’s drive of Chicago, but unless you have some sort of secret Elon Musk-hypersonic-technology, Petra, Jordan, is definitely not a day trip from Chicago. It’s definitely not even a weekend trip from Chicago. For crying out loud, it’s … Continue reading Visiting the Rose City in Jordan
Looking for some indoor winter fun with the kids? If so, you should check out the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Wonderland Express. It's an annual holiday extravaganza that features model trains journeying around and above dozens of Chicagoland’s major landmarks—from Wrigley Field and the Baha’i Temple, to Sears Tower and The Bean—all lovingly created with the … Continue reading All Aboard for Winter Fun at the Chicago Botanic Garden!: Model Trains, Chicago Landmark Miniatures, and Much More
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 in the air and on its shores, and fish and other creatures … Continue reading Nature Photographer Discusses His Love of Lake Michigan and What We Can Do to Protect It
I HAVE SOME TALENTED FRIENDS. I didn't just realize that, but it's always important to celebrate achievement in visual art, music, and writing since it is so difficult to attain. As a poet, essayist, frustrated short story writer, and amateur visual artist, I know how much work it takes to make something that is interesting … Continue reading Need Gift Ideas for the Holidays and Beyond? I Have Some Talented Friends