McKinley Woods: Enjoy Breathtaking Views of the Des Plaines River and I&M Canal, Excellent Hiking Trails and Birdwatching, and More

McKinley Woods is a beautiful preserve that features bluffs, deep ravines, and forests along the Des Plaines River and I&M Canal. There are two access points: Frederick’s Grove and Kerry Sheridan Grove. I recently spent several hours on a warm spring day hiking the trails at Frederick’s Grove, which has north and south parking areas. … Continue reading McKinley Woods: Enjoy Breathtaking Views of the Des Plaines River and I&M Canal, Excellent Hiking Trails and Birdwatching, and More

Visit Sand Ridge Nature Center for a Wonderful Winter Experience

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND The crunch of my footsteps on crisp ice and snowBirdsong high above in the treesDeer tracks imprinted in the slippery icePoems posted in the frozen forest These were just a few of the things I experienced or encountered yesterday on a bright 17-degree day, with … Continue reading Visit Sand Ridge Nature Center for a Wonderful Winter Experience

The Most-Popular Non-Nature Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in 2021

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND I wrote many stories about nature destinations in 2021, but I also covered other topics that were near and dear to my heart including stories about the sudden loss of a high school classmate, saying goodbye to the the second church I attended in my lifetime (and … Continue reading The Most-Popular Non-Nature Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in 2021

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

Saying Goodbye to Our Lady of Victory and Hoping to Save an Architecturally Significant Building

BY ANDREW MORKES, AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND No parishioner should have to say goodbye to his or her church. But that’s what I’ve had to do twice in the last 20 or so years. Hope Lutheran Church, my childhood church, closed when I was in my early 30s, and Our Lady of Victory (OLV) … Continue reading Saying Goodbye to Our Lady of Victory and Hoping to Save an Architecturally Significant Building

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

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

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