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

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

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

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

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

A story about the migration of tens of thousands of sandhill cranes; you can view this great Midwestern migration for the next few weeks. A Chicago city park that features 154 acres of native marsh and wet prairie habitat, great birdwatching, and easy hiking trails Nearly 22 acres of restored woodlands, wetlands, and a pond … Continue reading The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in November 2020

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