Rob Kanter holds a Middle Fork smallmouth bass

G.K. Appler

Environmental Almanac - March 13, 2014

Speak out to protect the Middle Fork

The Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is the only Illinois waterway with the designation “National Wild and Scenic River.” But there's a potential accident waiting to happen: a shuttered Dynegy power plant to the north contains three ponds of toxic coal ash in the river's floodplain. These are virtually guaranteed to wind up in the river eventually as the Middle Fork itself meanders toward these coal ash ponds

A Skunk Cabbage grows out of the snow

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - February 27, 2014

On the hunt for first flower of spring

The “skunk cabbage,” is a plant that lives up to its name, giving off a distinct, skunk-like odor. But this distinct early spring flower also distinguishes itself from all other plants native to Illinois by the fact that it generates heat--enough so that its flower can remain 36 degrees F warmer than the surrounding air for a period of about two weeks.

An Arctic ground squirrel peeks out from its burrow under the snow

Øivind Tøien

Environmental Almanac - February 06, 2014

We’re not alone coping with the cold

You’ve probably had about enough of winter by now. But other mammals have to find ways of coping with winter as well - from hibernation to energy storage to huddling together for warmth and to save energy.

A case from the James Fry insect collection, containing familiar moths and butterflies

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - January 30, 2014

Citizen scientists ensure insect collection put to good use

Members of the Illinois Grand PrairieMaster Naturalists help catalogue the contents of a collection of more than 2300 individual species of insects - and it’s critical that their identity is confirmed before being used for scientific and educational purposes

Mallard ducks in a creek

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - January 09, 2014

Enviromental Resolutions For 2014

"In 2014, I resolve to stay attuned to the local environment as I go about my business, and encourage others to cultivate their own appreciation for the wonders of the nearby natural world."

A pika, a small cold-climate mammal, looks up from a perch on a rock

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac - December 19, 2013

Why not make wildlife a topic of conversation?

‘Tis the season to stand awkwardly among people you may not see often, maintaining a smile and racking your brain for things to talk about. My gifts to you, dear reader, are questions to prompt conversation at a holiday party, questions about wildlife and wildlife experiences

A bat showing the patches of fungus distinctive of white-nose syndrome

Steve Taylor / UI Prairie Research Institute

Environmental Almanac - November 07, 2013

Good news (kinda), bad news (very) from UI researchers about diseases in wild mammals

There's good and bad news regarding wildlife in Illinois - the bad is that white-nose syndrome is killing bats by the millions; the good news really is just less bad: a fatal chronic wasting disease affecting deer, moose, and elk,is coming under control thanks to a strategy implemented by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

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