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

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

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

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!

New Book Shows That You Don’t Need a Car to Enjoy Chicagoland Nature

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND The Chicago metropolitan area (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau) consists of nearly 11,000 square miles. In this vast area, there are a plethora of awe-inspiring nature destinations. There is Lake Michigan, our vast inland sea, which offers an amazing interplay of sky and … Continue reading New Book Shows That You Don’t Need a Car to Enjoy Chicagoland Nature