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

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

Nearly 10 amazing places to see bison in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa An amazing prairie in Westchester, Illinois   A wonderfully wild, hilly nature preserve with a Civil War–era church that's now a nature center A rare mesic gravel prairie tucked between noisy Interstate 55, railroad tracks, warehouses, LaGrange Road, and the Des Plaines … Continue reading The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in September 2021

Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve: Ravines, Rolling Hills, and a Historic 1862 Church/Nature Center

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND If Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve was a baseball hit, it would be a majestic home run walloped by Babe Ruth or “Hammerin' Hank" Aaron at the height of their powers. If it was a streaming success, it would be The Wire, one of my favorite shows … Continue reading Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve: Ravines, Rolling Hills, and a Historic 1862 Church/Nature Center

Santa Fe Prairie Nature Preserve: a Red Caboose, Pleasant Trails, A Rare Prairie, and More Than 225 Native Plants

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Santa Fe Prairie Nature Preserve (7300 River Road, Hodgkins, IL 60525, Facebook) is a rare mesic (wet) gravel prairie tucked between noisy Interstate 55, railroad tracks, warehouses, LaGrange Road, and the Des Plaines River. A gravel prairie is one that grows on a gravel bar … Continue reading Santa Fe Prairie Nature Preserve: a Red Caboose, Pleasant Trails, A Rare Prairie, and More Than 225 Native Plants

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

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