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Tour Guide Takes Clients on Restorative Nature Experiences in Chicagoland

Laura Derks is the founder of Flybird Experience and has been leading people on restorative experiences in nature since 2016. She volunteers as a Master Naturalist in the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC), is a certified TreeKeeper through Openlands, and volunteers with Sierra Club’s Inspiring Connections to the Outdoors (where she has developed programs … Continue reading Tour Guide Takes Clients on Restorative Nature Experiences in Chicagoland

Discovering Nature and Finding Peace During the Pandemic: A Story of Three Seasons in Chicago’s Southland

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND I lived for 15 years on the “mean streets” of…well…well…Jefferson Park—a “nice-streets” neighborhood on Chicago’s far Northwest Side. Not a concrete jungle, but certainly a city neighborhood, with pretty houses packed closely together; mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and bars hanging on for dear life during the … Continue reading Discovering Nature and Finding Peace During the Pandemic: A Story of Three Seasons in Chicago’s Southland

Big Marsh Park: Spectacular Bike Tracks, Bountiful Birding, and Much More

“Big Marsh Has Big Plans.” That’s the newspaper headline I’d write if I were covering the ongoing environmental restoration and nature and recreational development efforts at Big Marsh Park, 11555 S. Stony Island Avenue, Chicago, IL 60617) on Chicago’s far Southeast Side. This natural area is located on 297 acres of reclaimed industrial land on … Continue reading Big Marsh Park: Spectacular Bike Tracks, Bountiful Birding, and Much More

Matthiessen State Park: Awe-Inspiring Canyons, Colorful Cliffs, and a Biodiversity Hotspot

I heard the soothing sounds of falling water striking soft sandstone as I descended the steep steps from the Dells Area parking lot to the trail below. By the sound, the water was falling fast and in large volume to the canyon floor. It was a beautiful 60-degree morning in mid-April, sunny and breezy, and … Continue reading Matthiessen State Park: Awe-Inspiring Canyons, Colorful Cliffs, and a Biodiversity Hotspot

Moraine Hills State Park: Rolling Hills, Top-Notch Hiking Trails, Winter Sports, and Much More

If you’re looking for a little adventure just an hour from Chicago, you should visit Moraine Hills State Park (1510 S. River Road, McHenry, IL 60051). That’s what I did recently on an early spring day that started out in the high 40s and reached 62 degrees under a bright sun and blue skies. The … Continue reading Moraine Hills State Park: Rolling Hills, Top-Notch Hiking Trails, Winter Sports, and Much More

We Met in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Our campsites adjoining,the sounds of Nakai flutes a few tents away,hours after honking birdsgrazed the canyon’s scalp at sunset. We exchanged firewood theft technology. I said: "sneak in once they leave, grab as much as you can carry, charred logs burn faster"; talked Oregon; argued William Least Heat Moon and Kansas; discussed lost loves and … Continue reading We Met in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

5 Things to Do at Lake Renwick Preserve/Heron Rookery Nature Preserve

“The geese are having a blowout of an argument” was my first thought as I began hiking along the main trail that travels along a beautiful lake at Lake Renwick Preserve in Plainfield, Illinois. I heard a symphony of honking (although the geese lacked a conductor) that I estimated was coming from half a mile … Continue reading 5 Things to Do at Lake Renwick Preserve/Heron Rookery Nature Preserve

The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in January 2021

The wildest place in Cook County 12 tips for a successful winter hike and some destination suggestions The celebration of a high school friend taken too soon More than 20 amazing nature spots on Chicago’s South Side and in the Southland to check out this weekend and beyond. A midwestern region where you’ll be saying, … Continue reading The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in January 2021

Visit to Lincoln Cemetery Reveals Rich African American Aviation History

Long ago, they raced through the blue sky in fantastic flying machines, and now they rest beneath the earth at Lincoln Cemetery, a historic African American cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois. One is so renowned that pilots dropped flowers over her grave for many years to celebrate her achievements during her short life. One helped … Continue reading Visit to Lincoln Cemetery Reveals Rich African American Aviation History

7 Things to Do at Rock Run Rookery Preserve

Looking for an excellent spot for birdwatching, short hikes, fishing, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities? If so, Rock Run Rookery Preserve (23065 S. Youngs Road, Joliet, IL 60436) is a perfect destination. The 224-acre preserve features 84-acre and 13-acre lakes (which were originally created and used for quarrying), as well as breeding areas (including islands) … Continue reading 7 Things to Do at Rock Run Rookery Preserve