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

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 Story of a Father and Son in 55 Questions

I'm taking a break today from writing about nature in Chicagoland to post a poem about my dad, who died 25 years ago today. This poem tells the story of the 27 years I was lucky enough to share with him. Who are you?Are you my Dadda?Why are you always smiling at me?More yogurt!?Can I … Continue reading The Story of a Father and Son in 55 Questions

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

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

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

Total Eclipse of the Heart: How a Lumpy Loveseat Led Me to Lunar Nirvana

I thank our loveseat for helping me to see Friday morning’s almost total lunar eclipse. Yes, our basement loveseat in all its cramped, lumpy glory. If I hadn’t unexpectedly fallen asleep on it and woke up stiff and sore at 2:15 a.m., I’d have never risen to see the longest lasting lunar eclipse since the … Continue reading Total Eclipse of the Heart: How a Lumpy Loveseat Led Me to Lunar Nirvana

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

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