Nature's Storytellers

A Blog About Nature in Our DuPage Forest Preserves

Keep Kids Learning with Fun Summer Day Camps

Help your child unplug from video games and connect to nature with our fun outdoor day camps for kids and teens. 
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Points to Ponder Before Raising Monarch Caterpillars

on 3/20/19 11:50 AM By | Andres Ortega | 0 Comments | Insider Plants Wildlife Conservation Nature native plant
Full disclosure: I’ve always liked insects. As a child I found them intensely interesting and spent hours just watching them walk, feed and fly. As an adult I came to realize their critical importance to our natural habitats (not to mention our food supply). 
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Early Spring Plant Arrivals

Just a few native woodland wildflowers emerge in March: Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and sharp-lobed hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) are among them.
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The "Magic School Bus" Rolls into DuPage Forest Preserves

on 3/4/19 2:59 PM By | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | 0 Comments | Insider Locations Nature
Science and social-studies teachers from across DuPage County joined the Forest Preserve District’s “Teacher-Institute Day: Magic School Bus Tour” on March 1, which was hosted by the Community Services & Education department. Teachers began their days at one of two education centers — Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook or Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago — to not only tour the sites but also get an exclusive scoop about the variety of signature programs available to students from grades 1 through 8 at the Forest Preserve District.
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It Takes Heart to Save a Blanding's Turtle

This past Valentine’s Day started out unexpectedly for some zookeepers at Wheaton Park District’s Cosley Zoo when they found a small Blanding’s turtle unconscious in one of the rearing tubs.
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Group Thanks District for Program That Connects Youth to Nature

Students and educators from the School Association for Special Education in DuPage County thanked the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County for providing them with many fun outdoor adventures over the years through the District’s Special Needs Outdoor Education Day, held  at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville.
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A Special Role for a Special Blanding's Turtle

Meet Shirlee, a rare yellow-colored or “xanthic” Blanding’s turtle now on public display to help spread the word about the plight of the state-endangered Blanding’s turtle. She’s also a great example of how it takes a village to help save these creatures.
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Greene Farm Barn Provides Clues to Future Forestry

Scientists are hoping old-growth timber from the Greene Farm Barn and Graue Mill will help them determine how to help future trees withstand adversity in the form of fires, pest outbreaks and extreme weather conditions.
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Law Enforcement Completes Rapid-Deployment Training

on 2/1/19 9:14 AM By | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | 0 Comments | Insider Nature
Forest Preserve District ranger police officers Laura Michael and Mark Pinnella led rapid-deployment training for the Law Enforcement department — including its sworn officers, sergeants, lieutenant and chief — in January. Rapid-deployment training is based on standard law-enforcement principles and techniques used during emergency situations, large-scale incidents or crises (such as at a public school or shopping mall) that require multiple agencies from across the state to work effectively and efficiently together.
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Sowing Seeds in the Snow

on 1/23/19 11:03 AM By | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | 0 Comments | Insider Plants Nature
For local gardeners, winter’s a time to take stock of what did well during the previous year and to look forward to the coming crop of plant catalogs in the mail. But in DuPage County, Forest Preserve District employees and volunteers are already seeding for spring. It’s a technique called “frost seeding,” and it uses the way many plants grow naturally to improve a variety of habitats.
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How to Keep Pets Safe from Coyotes

on 1/15/19 2:03 PM By | Dan Thompson | 0 Comments | Insider Wildlife Nature Coyote
It’s always heartbreaking to hear about encounters between pet dogs and coyotes, as recently happened in Wheaton. We want to remind folks of some simple ways to keep their pets safe from the native wildlife that also call DuPage home. 
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Part 4: The Dining Room Oilcloth

on 1/3/19 1:53 PM By | Keith McClow | 0 Comments | Insider Locations
The oilcloth on the dining room floor at Kline Creek Farm's farmhouse museum could be easily overlooked. In fact, we planned it that way. It is meant to fit in as just one more part of the farmhouse, but it is really a handcrafted and very valuable work of art.
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Life Under Ice

on 12/17/18 1:42 PM By | Jennifer Rydzewski | 0 Comments | Insider Take 5 Wildlife Conservation Nature
After the last leaves fall and the cold winds start to blow, winter settles across DuPage County. Ground squirrels and woodchucks hunker down in underground burrows.
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Feathered Friends Feel the Freeze: How to Help Birds Survive Winter

Although the ground is cold (and possibly covered in snow), winter doesn’t mean hibernation and hiding for all wild animals, especially for some of the more common creatures you’ll see this time of year: the birds. 
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Part 3: The Parlor Pump Organ

on 12/5/18 8:35 AM By | Keith McClow | 0 Comments | Insider Locations
Once we had the wood-burning stove in the works, our next project was to restore our pump organ at the 1880s farmhouse museum at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago. I knew it had major problems and I had money in the budget to restore it, but one day it stopped playing so it moved up higher on our priority list.
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Tracking the Origins of Invasive Zebra Mussels

on 11/29/18 9:09 AM By | Dan Grigas | 0 Comments | Insider Locations Natural resources Conservation Nature Invasive
Visiting a beautiful lake or pond surrounded by mixed woodlands or sprawling prairie is one of the most serene and relaxing things I can think of doing on any given day. Nothing beats hearing the hum and buzz of surrounding wildlife, feeling the gentle breeze on my face, and looking down upon the refreshing clear water. Wait, what? Pool-clear lake water? That’s not right. Healthy lakes and ponds typically have a slight greenish/brown hue to them, an indication they contain an ample amount of phytoplankton, the base of the food chain. Being too clear is often a sign that something is afoot in that aquatic ecosystem. 
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We're Thankful For Our Volunteers

on 11/16/18 11:39 AM By | Forest Preserve District of DuPage County | 0 Comments | Volunteer
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County offers many of its popular events, programs and services with assistance from a dedicated corps of volunteers. These individuals not only help us deliver long-standing programs but also bring many new experiences to forest preserve visitors. They help to rehabilitate injured wild animals, cut and remove invasive brush, care for domestic animals, attend to chores and interpret our DuPage heritage, among many other things.
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Our Top 10 Things to Do to #OptOutside

Between the Thanksgiving dinner prep and the holiday shopping spree, get outdoors with your family and friends to experience the physical, emotional and spiritual rewards of spending time in nature. Today an ever-growing body of scientific research finds that nature is good for the body, mind and spirit. Nature makes us healthier, sharper and even happier, too! 
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Let's Talk Turkey: Fun Tidbits About This Popular Bird

For a lot of people, it’s turkey time. There are hand turkeys, turkey trots, turkey bowls and even tofu turkey with all the trimmings. If you hike through the woods at Herrick Lake, Blackwell, Danada or St. James Farm forest preserves, you just may see the real deal.
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The Plight of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

on 11/6/18 2:20 PM By | Andres Ortega | 0 Comments | Insider Locations Natural resources Plants Conservation Nature
I think it’s just human nature to run in the opposite direction when we see a big black-and-yellow insect flying our way. But when it comes to the rusty patched bumble bee, our reaction to this federally endangered species should lean more toward excitement and compassion.
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