Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary: Great Birding, Wide-Open Spaces, and Enjoyable Hiking and Cross-Country Skiing

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Beautiful hilly grasslands. Big skies. Enjoyable hiking trails. The opportunity to see more than 100 bird species. If these phrases catch your attention, you should visit Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary (559 E. Rush Creek Road, Stockton, IL 61085) in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. The 409-acre preserve … Continue reading Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary: Great Birding, Wide-Open Spaces, and Enjoyable Hiking and Cross-Country Skiing

Prairie Enthusiasts Executive Director Discusses Why It’s Vital to Save Prairies (Including Bell Bowl Prairie) and Celebrates the Expansion of Mounds View Grassland Preserve

Debra Behrens is the Executive Director of the The Prairie Enthusiasts, a grassroots environmental organization that has 11 chapters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. I recently talked with her about the expansion of its land holdings (a wonderful development in an age where we have to fight to preserve every last bit of the natural … Continue reading Prairie Enthusiasts Executive Director Discusses Why It’s Vital to Save Prairies (Including Bell Bowl Prairie) and Celebrates the Expansion of Mounds View Grassland Preserve

Goodbye 2021…Hello 2022! 

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND I want to thank my Nature in Chicagoland readers for visiting my blog in 2021.  I visited 37 nature destinations in Illinois and Indiana last year, and 23 were new spots—including Rock Run Rookery Preserve, Buffalo Rock State Park, Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve, Casper Bluff Land & Water … Continue reading Goodbye 2021…Hello 2022! 

A Blog Post of Thanks to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Southtown, Local Bookstores, and Others Who Helped Make Nature in Chicagoland a Success

BY ANDREW MORKES, AUTHOR of NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND It’s been a good year…at least for the owner (me) of a small book publishing company that does not have the power of the Big Four “digital-paper-industrial complex” publishers, who can sell tens of thousands of books in a matter of minutes with a perfectly-timed Tweet about … Continue reading A Blog Post of Thanks to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Southtown, Local Bookstores, and Others Who Helped Make Nature in Chicagoland a Success

Bell Bowl Prairie Will be Destroyed on November 1, 2021—Unless You Act Now

The prairie will be bulldozed as part of a runway expansion for Chicago Rockford International Airport and the construction of a distribution facility. Bell Bowl Prairie is located at 6045 Cessna Drive in Rockford, Illinois. One thing is certain: we do not need another Amazon or other mega-seller distribution facility, but we do need to … Continue reading Bell Bowl Prairie Will be Destroyed on November 1, 2021—Unless You Act Now

On the Joys of Hiking for a Hike’s Sake and Saying Goodbye to My Favorite Chicagoland Nature Spot for the Year

When you spend the last several years writing a book—Nature in Chicagoland: More Than 120 Fantastic Nature Destinations That You Must Visit—you don’t get to spend as much time visiting your favorite nature destinations (because there are always new places to see) and rambling through the woods with no cares in the world. But all … Continue reading On the Joys of Hiking for a Hike’s Sake and Saying Goodbye to My Favorite Chicagoland Nature Spot for the Year

Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve: “Forests” of Wildflowers, a Rare Prairie Ecosystem, and Great Birdwatching

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester, Illinois, is a stunning 82-acre preserve that will overwhelm you with its colorful native wildflowers; acres and acres of big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass, and prairie dropseed; a cattail-filled wetland; and a bur oak savannah that features a 250-year-old … Continue reading Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve: “Forests” of Wildflowers, a Rare Prairie Ecosystem, and Great Birdwatching

Goodbye (and Good Riddance) 2020…Hello 2021!

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND 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 … Continue reading Goodbye (and Good Riddance) 2020…Hello 2021!

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

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND If you’re looking for holiday stocking stuffers, consider the following nature- or Chicagoland-oriented calendar and books. My friend TED GLASOE, an environmental advocate and an award-winning nature photographer and a champion of protecting Lake Michigan, offers a 2021 calendar and photographic prints that feature breathtaking images of our … Continue reading A Lake Michigan Calendar, Books Spotlighting Iconic Chicago Scenes and Destinations, and Nature Books to Fill Your Holiday Stockings

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

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Surrounded by steel processing plants and busy railroad lines and roads lies a place of wild beauty and an oasis for migrating great egrets, double crested cormorants, and little blue herons, among many other birds. Park No. 565 is a Chicago city park that’s nothing … Continue reading Indian Ridge Marsh Park: A Bird Haven and a Story of Environmental Rebirth