A bicentennial oak, one more than 200 years old
L. Brody Dunn
September 29, 2016

Ancient Oaks a Living Link to Big Grove

When people think about the landscape of central Illinois prior to European settlement they tend to think “prairie,” vast expanses of flat land covered in tall grass and tall flowers. And for the most part, that image is accurate. But groves of trees intruded on the grasslands here and there, especially on the eastern edges of rivers and streams, creating natural breaks to prairie fires driven by winds from the west.


Tight shot of a hummingbird, iridescent green above and white below, perched on the edge of a red plastic feeder.
Rob Kanter
September 16, 2016

Late summer a great time to appreciate nature close to home

Even though there’s time on the calendar before Autumn begins officially, we’ve passed some important marks on the cultural calendar. Labor Day is a memory, the new school year is in full swing, and the season of traveling to outdoor destinations is over. For me, that means it’s a great time to renew appreciation for the undramatic nature that surrounds us every day.


A gray squirrel eats an acorn in a Chinkapin oak tree
Rob Kanter
September 08, 2016

An Ecological Look at Acorns

Acorns are everywhere in the fall, as anyone who bicycles where there are oaks can attest. While these seeds may be a minor annoyance on the road, they’re much more interesting and important from an ecological perspective.


Rob Kanter holding a small garter snake
Photo by Rob Kanter
May 20, 2016

A love of life—even snakes [from the archive]

Thanks to a friend who’s more observant than me, I recently discovered a new species of reptile in my own backyard, a plains garter snake. Maybe I should clarify by saying I mean the plains garter snake was “new” to me, not new to science or the wider world.


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