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

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

The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in January 2021

12 tips for a winter hike The wildest place in Cook County Nearly 10 amazing places to see bison in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa The story of finding a mysteriously empty picnic grove and nature preserve and wondering who loves it A great nature center to visit and hike at in the winter--and beyond … Continue reading The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in January 2021

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?

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

Discovering Nature and Finding Peace During the Pandemic: A Story of Three Seasons in Chicago’s Southland

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND I lived for 15 years on the “mean streets” of…well…well…Jefferson Park—a “nice-streets” neighborhood on Chicago’s far Northwest Side. Not a concrete jungle, but certainly a city neighborhood, with pretty houses packed closely together; mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and bars hanging on for dear life during the … Continue reading Discovering Nature and Finding Peace During the Pandemic: A Story of Three Seasons in Chicago’s Southland

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

More Than 20 Museums, Nature Centers, and Other Destinations to Visit In Chicagoland on a Winter Day

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND It's a snowy weekend in Chicago, but that's no reason to stay at home. A 10-mile winter hike = NO! Camping = NO! But you can still get out and take a short walk or, more realistically, enjoy one of our area's many natured-oriented places, museums, and … Continue reading More Than 20 Museums, Nature Centers, and Other Destinations to Visit In Chicagoland on a Winter Day

15+ Museums, Nature Centers, and Other Destinations to Visit in Chicagoland on a Teeth-Chattering Winter Day

Chicagoland is currently playing the lead actor in a bomb of a play called "Polar Vortex." While you may not be able to take a long hike or go camping (unless you like risking frostbite after spending 30 minutes outdoors), there are many natured-oriented places, museums, and even an auto museum you can visit to … Continue reading 15+ Museums, Nature Centers, and Other Destinations to Visit in Chicagoland on a Teeth-Chattering Winter Day

14 Things to Do Outdoors in Chicagoland Before Summer Ends

August is here, and summer is in its third and final act. The “actors” are still on stage: the leaves are green, the flowers are in bloom, the beaches are packed, the kids are still out of school, the sidewalk cafes are jammed with summer revelers, and the sun doesn’t set till around 8 p.m. … Continue reading 14 Things to Do Outdoors in Chicagoland Before Summer Ends