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

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

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

Has the Murder of Children in Chicagoland Become Normalized?

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND It's an irrational thought but I’m starting to think this every morning when I read or view the news and there is yet another poor child who has become the collateral damage to someone’s stupid gang life or other evil actions. These stories get a few seconds … Continue reading Has the Murder of Children in Chicagoland Become Normalized?

Why Did LaSean Stop to Help Me?: A Story of Kindness on the Highway and Thoughts of Helping Others on the Anniversary of 9/11

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Why did LaSean stop to help me? I silently asked myself this question as this taciturn man worked quickly to help me change my tire. Minutes before, I’d been rocketing north on Interstate 57 toward my mom’s house in Beverly. That is, until I heard … Continue reading Why Did LaSean Stop to Help Me?: A Story of Kindness on the Highway and Thoughts of Helping Others on the Anniversary of 9/11

Big Marsh Park: Spectacular Bike Tracks, Bountiful Birding, and Much More

“Big Marsh Has Big Plans.” That’s the newspaper headline I’d write if I were covering the ongoing environmental restoration and nature and recreational development efforts at Big Marsh Park (11555 S. Stony Island Avenue, Chicago, IL 60617) on Chicago’s far Southeast Side. This natural area is located on 297 acres of reclaimed industrial land on … Continue reading Big Marsh Park: Spectacular Bike Tracks, Bountiful Birding, and Much More

THE 10 MOST-POPULAR STORIES AT NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND IN OCTOBER 2019

Ghost stories of Chicago’s southwest suburbs and my own ghost story The wildest nature destination in Cook County The story of a 100-year-old home gobbled up by developers The only open-water quaking bog in Illinois 2,500 acres of rolling hills and towering cliffs above the confluence of the great Mississippi and Apple Rivers 8 places to … Continue reading THE 10 MOST-POPULAR STORIES AT NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND IN OCTOBER 2019

7 Stories About My Dad on the Anniversary of His Passing

  My father died of cancer on this day 22 years ago. Sometimes I feel like it was just yesterday; other days it feels like forever ago. My father was my best friend and, despite that, sometimes I find it hard to convey my feelings about him, as well as paint a picture of his … Continue reading 7 Stories About My Dad on the Anniversary of His Passing

Earthrise 1968: Thoughts on the Past and Future of the Environment and America

The beautiful blue Earth rising above the barren, chalky surface of the moon in the darkness of space. That’s what astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders saw on December 24, 1968, from the cockpit of the command module of Apollo 8. These men were tasked with completing a challenging mission that involved testing … Continue reading Earthrise 1968: Thoughts on the Past and Future of the Environment and America