Monarch Butterfly feeding on butterfly milkweed
Rob Kanter
May 08, 2014

Support monarch butterflies by planting milkweed at home

Monarch Butterflies are declining rapidly as a species—by a staggering 90 percent in the past two decades. Butterfly milkweed, an easy-to-grow perennial characterized by attractive foliage and bright orange flowers; it is also the only plant fledgling Monarch caterpillars feed on. People can provide important habitat for them in home landscaping—just by cultivating some milkweed for the caterpillars to feed on.


Garlic Mustard Hunt participants, left to right: John McWilliams, Nathan Hudson, Eileen Borgia, Mike Daab, Cindy Strehlow, Susan Campbell.; at Homer Lake Forest Preserve
Marilyn Leger
April 24, 2014

Two Ways to Fight Invasive Plants

What’s wrong with garlic mustard? Probably nothing in itself, but garlic mustard is one of many plants that can produce bad effects when propagated them in the wrong place. Natural areas in Illinois are definitely the wrong place for garlic mustard, where it can crowd out native plants, depriving insects and the animals that eat them of an important food source, depriving birds of the cover they need for nesting, and more.


Rob Kanter holds a Middle Fork smallmouth bass
G.K. Appler
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
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.


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