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

Galena Gateway Park: Amazing Views of a Historic Town, Great Hiking, and Excellent Wildflower and Bird Viewing

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation and the Galena Area Land Enthusiasts are the official managers of stunning Galena Gateway Park (9300 W. Powder House Hill Road, Galena, IL 61036). But when I visited last week, the red-winged blackbirds were firmly in charge—especially in the highlands. These beautiful … Continue reading Galena Gateway Park: Amazing Views of a Historic Town, Great Hiking, and Excellent Wildflower and Bird Viewing

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

Celebrating the Five-Year Anniversary of Nature in Chicagoland

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Today is the five-year anniversary of my blog, Nature in Chicagoland, and I'm so happy to have written nearly 200 articles about the woods, wetlands, grasslands, prairies, lakes and other waterways, and other natural areas that make up Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. I'm pleased that Nature … Continue reading Celebrating the Five-Year Anniversary of Nature in Chicagoland

Hidden Pond Woods: What if You Held a Nature Party and No One Came?

What if you held a nature party and no one came? That was the scene early last September when I stumbled upon Hidden Pond Woods-East (Entrance: S. Kean Avenue, north of W. 95th Street, Cook County, IL 60480, near Willow Springs) after hiking about 3 miles at wild and hilly Spears Woods just to the … Continue reading Hidden Pond Woods: What if You Held a Nature Party and No One Came?

Spears Woods: Room to Roam Amidst Rolling Hills, Sloughs, and Oak Woodlands

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND If you’re looking for a large preserve in which to hike, bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, and otherwise explore, than Spears Woods near Willow Springs, Illinois, is the place to be. It offers rolling hills; sloughs (such as whimsically named Boomerang, Hogwash, and Pollywog Sloughs); winding … Continue reading Spears Woods: Room to Roam Amidst Rolling Hills, Sloughs, and Oak Woodlands

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

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