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

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

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

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

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

14 Amazing Nature Spots I Visited This Year That Should be on Your Chicagoland “Nature Bucket List”

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND It's been a challenging year in many ways as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the contentious presidential campaign, and other factors. But amidst the stressful conditions, there have been two constants: my great family and nature. My family has provided support, solace, companionship, … Continue reading 14 Amazing Nature Spots I Visited This Year That Should be on Your Chicagoland “Nature Bucket List”

20+ Great Destinations on Chicago’s South Side and in the Southland to Check Out This Weekend and Beyond

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Looking for something to do this weekend and beyond? If so, check out these 20+ great places on Chicago’s South Side and in its south and southwest suburbs. I’ve also included Indiana Dunes National Park, one of our nation’s newest national park, and it’s just as beautiful … Continue reading 20+ Great Destinations on Chicago’s South Side and in the Southland to Check Out This Weekend and Beyond

Raccoon Grove Nature Preserve: Stunning Spring Wildflowers, a Sun-Dappled Creek, Splendid Fall Colors, and Easy Hiking

Copyright Andrew Morkes BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND I didn't see any raccoons, but I did savor acres and acres of stunning wild geraniums and mayapples during my hike last week at Raccoon Grove Nature Preserve (5851 W. Pauling Road, Monee, IL 60449). This 213-acre Illinois Nature Preserve is a great destination for a … Continue reading Raccoon Grove Nature Preserve: Stunning Spring Wildflowers, a Sun-Dappled Creek, Splendid Fall Colors, and Easy Hiking

The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in January 2020

40-foot limestone cliffs, a stream, beautiful waterfalls, and a fishing pond–all in a Chicago neighborhood  12 tips for a great winter hike 20+ museums, nature centers, and other destinations to visit in Chicagoland on a winter day 14 beautiful National Park destinations–start your spring and summer trip planning Great hiking and biking and remnants of … Continue reading The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in January 2020