Walk the Wood

Look for your nearest Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site or Illinois Nature Preserve.[1] Make the call whether or not to trespass if it looks like private property. Plug it in your GPS and hit the road. Near the preserve, your parking spot is preferably near some houses or tucked out of the way so that your …

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Learning, learning

The past year has been exciting for me, botanically speaking, as I pushed myself outside my somewhat monotonous prairie restoration monitoring to explore more remnant areas, learning the more obscure Illinois flora in my free time. With the new Flora of the Chicago Region in hand, I documented over 1000 plant taxa in the state …

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#BringBackTheBees, Another Misguided Conservation Effort

Another example of a poorly-designed “wildflower” seed mix to entice the public to engage in conservation efforts with Cheerios’ #BringBackTheBees campaign (see previous post on DuneCraft’s “Native” Perennial Seed Bombs). Really, how hard is it to consult an ecologist or botanist for efforts like these? And what a lesson in providing both common and scientific names. It’s …

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Finding the Forgotten Flora

“I remember well, for instance, how here in Rockford, Ill., say twenty years ago, the indigenous plants of the prairie and oak-opening sprang up on every side in close proximity to the beaten paths of busy men. The industrious young botanist, collecting for exchange, found his only limitations in the quantity of driers he possessed, …

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A Big Year, Botanist Style

Known to all birders, a “big year” is a competition to spot the most bird species within a given area in one year. Competition areas can be as large as the entire world to as small as a city park, but the popular competitions are country-(e.g. ABA), state-, or county-wide. And so, why not a …

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Invasive Buckthorn by the Numbers

INVASIVE PLANTS DEFINED native plant: in North America, a plant that was found in a particular area prior to European settlement or has arrived since then through natural means of dispersal. Example: side oats grama, Bouteloua curtipendula non-native plant: in North America, a plant that was introduced to a particular area after European settlement via …

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Habitat 2030: Young Chicagoans Who Love Nature

The Forest Preserves of Cook County recently did a write-up on Habitat 2030, an environmental stewardship volunteer group I’ve recently become involved with: http://fpdcc.com/volunteer-spotlight-habitat-2030. Our events include fun stuff like habitat restoration (removing invasive species, collecting native seeds), bioblitzes, camping, gullywalking, and good ol’ hiking within the awe-inspiring Chicago Wilderness. Removing old sign posts at …

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